Every company wants to find ways to reach new customers. Whether you send direct mail to their home or mail to their e-mail box, your hope is that they’ll want to buy what you’re selling.

But as irritated as people are by regular junk mail, users seem to become simply irate when faced with unsolicited e-mail or “spam.”

As a business, do you take the chance of losing business when you send unsolicited e-mail, or is the possibility that you might land new customers worth the risk?

Recently, we received some feedback on spam from several TechRepublic members in a response to Jack Kador’s article “Risk strategies: Are you a rule breaker, shaker, maker, or taker?” Here’s what they had to say about spam.

E-commerce vs. telemarketers
One post came from a business owner who doesn’t spam—anymore. Our reader says he once sent out 2,000 unsolicited e-mails as a marketing test. While the mailing did produce some business, he also received messages from people asking to be removed from the company’s mailing list.

The reader also contended that telemarketers, who have a chance to make their pitch, have an unfair advantage over e-mail.

“The irony of it all is that telemarketers can call me at my home any time they want, until I tell them to take me off their calling list. But they do get at least one attempt. I think that e-mailing should be given the same option. What’s the difference in telemarketing unsolicited products, which I’ve done very successfully on contract for companies, and so-called spamming?”

E-mail vs. snail mail
Another post we received took a similar position: Why is one method of unsolicited mail more accepted than another as a business practice?

“Since any company can snail mail me information at any time,” wrote an anonymous TechRepublic member, “why can’t we e-commerce individuals enjoy the same privilege by e-mailing unsolicited e-mail?”

Free spam?
Another TechRepublic member took issue with the comparisons between unsolicited e-mail, telemarketers, and junk mail.

“The Cold Calling Telemarketer or the Snail-Mail Spammer incur a cost for their annoyance. However, the e-mail spammer’s only investment is the time it takes them to compose their solicitation,” wrote Jking.

“The spammer who uses my bandwidth to send me UCE at my expense deserves no second chance.”
Tell us whether you think businesses should stop spamming or limit the unsolicited e-mail they send out. Does your business send out unsolicited e-mail? Is it a necessary evil or a crutch for businesses? Post a comment below or send us an e-mail.