Sobig No Big Deal for E-mail Marketers

E-mail marketers report little change in e-mail marketing campaigns in the face of the Sobig.F worm that has produced chaos on e-mail systems worldwide.

For the most part, clients have stayed the course, according to a sampling of e-mail marketing companies.

“We’re not seeing that our clients are overly concerned,” said Kevin George, vice president of client services at Silverpop. “They’re not changing their thought process.”

Ashley Johnston, a spokeswoman for CheetahMail, said e-mail campaigns have been carried out as usual, although the company’s e-mail system is dealing with the worm. She pointed out that CheetahMail’s corporate and client network remain distinct.

“The worm has done little to affect any of our client’s mailings,” she said. “All or, at least most, of our clients are continuing to mail as usual.”

She said clients, for the most part, have not suffered poor results.

“We really didn’t see any significant changes in our clients mailing schedules,” she said. “We found that most of our clients mailing results were relatively normal.

A Silverpop representative said it had seen little impact on open rates, although a couple large clients had suffered a 1 to 2 percent decline in the past two weeks that might be partially attributable to the virus.

A Bigfoot Interactive representative said it had experienced no problems from Sobig.F.

Likewise, George said the worm did not affect Silverpop’s Linux-based e-mail servers. Sobig.F targets computers using Microsoft’s Windows operating system, inserting software the can be used to generate tons of spam.

One of the advantages for e-mail marketing companies like Silverpop and Bigfoot Interactive is that they do not send attachments, making their messages less likely to get confused with Sobig.F-generated spam, which comes with the virus attached.

While George agreed that marketing e-mails were at risk from delete-key-happy Internet users, he pointed out this is a challenge for any e-mail, whether commercial or not.

“This actually impacts all e-mail communications,” he said. “This affects all of them equally.”

A handful of clients have contacted Silverpop expressing concern about their campaigns. George said the company has advised them to go ahead with their mailing, while paying careful attention to adhering to industry best practices, such as making their subject line clear.

“This will pass like all the other worms will pass,” he said. “We’re used to hearing things about these e-mail viruses. They’ve been around longer than even spam.”

However, according to anti-virus firm Central Command, the worse might be yet to come. The Sobig.F worm has infected millions of machines worldwide with virtual Trojan armies that might be triggered for an assault on Sept. 11.

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