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Why I Ignored Your Email 

By Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach

So you emailed me, and waited patiently for me to reply, but I didn't.  Hours went by, then days, and finally more than a week (or a month) had passed, and you were still waiting for some sign that I had received, read, or at least noticed your message.

But, no such luck.  No response, no reaction, no nothing.  And perhaps you felt mad, disgusted, offended, hurt, or just plain disappointed that I ignored you.

Bummer.  I feel your pain, because I've been there, too.  But if I didn't respond to your message, you deserve to know why, and here's the deal.

Basically, I did not recognize your email as "real" email.  For some reason, it looked like spam or junk.  My filter may have helped me come to that conclusion, but a variety of other reasons could have contributed to my decision to hit the Delete key before opening and reading your message.

After having worked with over 2500 small business owners (wow!), as you can imagine, I get a lot of email.  Despite a great filter, I still get a lot of spam, so I have to exercise my best judgment when choosing which emails to open, and which to delete.

Here's what I consider spam:  Unsolicited sales information (no, I do not need Viagra because a. I am a woman, and b. my husband is just fine, thank you!), pleas for help from complete strangers (sorry, your majesty, but I can't provide you with my bank account number so you can move your fortune out of the country before the natives get really restless), and viruses (yes, I understand that you are a complete but unrecognized genius but I don't care, you pimply-faced snot-nosed hacker rat; get a life!).

Good friends can send me information that I might find amusing, helpful, or just something I need to know, but so far nobody I know, like, and trust, has tried to sell me Viagra, get my bank account number, or given me a computer virus (deliberately).  Complete strangers have written to me and become clients, friends, and valued colleagues, but we connected because I could tell at a glance that their email messages were legit.

So it's not all email, just certain stuff that throws up the red flags in my inbox.

Here are my criteria for automatic deletion, and if you recognize yourself, my apologies for nuking your message:

No sender name or identification.  If you haven't bothered to set up your email properly so that your name appears as the sender, it is dangerous for me to open your emails.  Either you are a spammer, or you are so techno-phobic that you might make bad decisions regarding your own computer hygiene, so my computer is at risk when accepting messages from you. Uh uh.

Unfamiliar (and weird) sender name.  Would you open an email message from Misalliance M. Checkbook?  I wouldn't, and you shouldn't either, unless you want a virus.

No subject line.  Again, a potential problem, unless I know you personally and know you to be so quick on the draw that you consistently send out messages before writing the subject line.  Otherwise, no dice.

First name only in subject line.  If I don't already know you, I will assume that your message is spam unless the subject line tells me otherwise.  If I am undecided, I will check the properties of your sender name just to see who you are, and if I don't know you, I hit the Delete key without another thought.

Obvious misspellings in the subject line.  Again, if I already know you, chances are I will open this email if the misspellings make sense, but if I don't know you (or at least recognize your email address), that message with the weird spellings and punctuation goes right into the Deleted Items folder.

Sender name as subject line.  OK, I know that some of you sent me messages with your name as the subject line, but so does every rich widow, deposed prince, and exiled sheik in the world who wants my bank account number, and I am not willing to read one more of those messages.  Not that I ever fell for the I-need-you-to-hold-my-50-billion-dollar-fortune-while-I-fight-the-forces-of-evil story, but I am offended by the very nature of these messages, and refuse to open them.  If your message got nuked with that trash, now you know why.

My name or web address as subject line.  Oh please!  Could it BE any more obvious that's it's a solicitation?

Nonsensical subject line (usually in all lower case).  Bottom line, I'm not so curious that I am willing to be inconvenienced, bored, or annoyed, so this ploy doesn't work for me.

Lewd or objectionable subject line.  I don't like to think of myself as a prude, but I do not appreciate lewdness, bigotry, racism, or intolerance from anyone.  Buh bye.

A RE: or FWD: in subject line from a sender I don't recognize.  If I haven't already been in touch, why would there be a RE: in the subject line?  Clever monkeys, these spammers.  Same with forwards; why would a complete stranger forward a message about some great deal to me?

It goes right to my Junk Mail folder.  Yes, once in a while I catch a "real" email in my Junk Mail folder, but often I just nuke 'em all after a quick scan.  Hey, I'm busy!

OK, not all ignored email is spam, and here a couple of special cases with explanations:

I didn't get it.  It could happen, and it does.  Even mail I have sent myself from home doesn't always make it here, so please give me the benefit of the doubt on this.

Unsolicited newsletter.  Here's the deal: I get a lot of newsletters.  A LOT.  And I have the majority of them sent to my newsletter email address, so that I can read them at my leisure, and so my inbox does not overflow with email.  But for some reason, some people who get my business card at a networking event or whatever feel justified in adding me to their mailing lists without my permission.  I find this...fatiguing.  So fatiguing that I will unsubscribe or just hit Delete. 

My email bounced back because your mailbox was full or your ISP doesn't like my ISP.  Why can't they all just get along?

You wrote just to tell me how much I suck.  Well, you're entitled to your opinion, just as I am entitled to mine, and my opinion is that flaming emails (and the like) are simply not worth acknowledging. 

So there you have it (or not).  Every once in a while an email gets lost in my inbox (sorry about that), or I think I've responded when I haven't (hey, human here), because for the most part, my intentions are good. 

Are we good now?

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Why I Ignored Your Email © 2006 Veronika Noize.  All rights reserved.

About the author
Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach, is a successful Vancouver, WA-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach who helps small businesses attract more clients and double their business in just 30 minutes a day. Ronnie's web site is a comprehensive resource with free articles and valuable marketing tools for small office/home office business professionals. Visit her web site at, or call her at 360-882-1298.

Author's note:
You're welcome to use this article as content for your own ezine or web site!  Just make sure that the article remains complete and unaltered (including the "About the author" info and copyright line at the end), and that you send a copy of your reprint to You may also use my photo (found on my home page at with the article.

"I help small businesses attract more clients."
~Veronika Noize, the Virtual Marketing Coach

Veronika Noize LLC
The Virtual Marketing Coach

2643 Beaver Ave · PMB 338 · Des Moines IA 50310  · USA

360-882-1298 voice