Web 2.0 – It’s the end of CAN SPAM as we know it.

Really, it may also be the end of e-mail marketing as we know it. So, where better to seek the definition of Web 2.0, for those of you that want to meet your reaper, than Wikipedia, the Web’s most collaborative encyclopedic tool, ” Web 2.0 refers to a supposed second-generation of Internet-based services – such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies.”

E-mail put a dent in traditional mailing much the way MTV recently became a reality TV network. It’s a whole lot cheaper to pimp my ride than it is to pay Jessica and Britney’s royalties. But have you seen ABC television recently? A true visionary in Web 2.0 marketing, ABC has brought music videos back – like real music, and a guy singing it. Real music. Back to basics (I won’t get into it here – but visit abc.com and click on the Lost and Grey’s Anatomy links for Web 2.0 lesson 1.0).

The lesson: E-mail marketers could learn a lot from going back to basics. Web 2.0 is a big part of not only showing them the way, but in helping them get there.

Essentially Web 2.0 is about user generated content, or UGC. People of common interests are coming together in the same place. They are gathering online – to talk about music, knitting, body-building, politics, and varicose veins. If you’re a true marketer, you just got itchy. You just realized that your lists are not just lists anymore – they are profiles, with pictures sometimes, AND THEY ARE ALL IN ONE PLACE!!!

Many e-mail marketers got greedy in the earlier part of this decade. So what if I mail to 20,000 moderately interested parties? Same price as mailing to 200 highly interested parties – and I don’t have to do the research, targeting, list-filtering, shaping, analytics to find them.

Web 2.0 is forcing marketers back to the 200 – back to the basics – back to communicating with the 200 most relevant. But it’s also helping to find them – and quite easily.

There still are some challenges – you can’t just go to MySpace with a megaphone and solicit magazine subscriptions. (And for those of you who don’t think MySpace is relevant to your audience, see last week’s report by ComScore Media Metrix that estimates that greater than 50% of MySpace users are over 35.) But you could go to MySpace user groups on politics and start posting information about this week’s The Nation cover story.

And perhaps link to the subscription shopping cart directly. You could build your own Wiki, or social network about your cause, disease and own the dialogue on cancer, or Portland’s Downtown renaissance, or animal rights. Then, lo-and-behold, at your next capital campaign, you also “own” the dialogue’s participants, and can communicate with them at your leisure.

Web 2.0 brings us back to the town hall – gathering among like minded individuals – but just more of them. Itchy again? So Carpe Diem marketers, grab your user groups before anyone else does…

So, perhaps, it’s the end of CAN SPAM as we know it. And I feel fine…

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