David Atlas, a blogger on MediaPost's E-mail Insider, recently wrote an entry about that little button that every e-mail marketer should fear: "report as spam." His post, "Complaining About Complaints: Part I," brings up some subtleties about customers who click (or want to click) the dreaded button. It's not like a phone call or a letter, which take time and consideration--the customer may report an e-mail as spam due to a transient mood, machine-click and skew statistics by sending their complaint multiple times, or, as one reply brought up, forget that this action will block all e-mails from this address (even ones they may want). There can also be problems from the opposite end of the spectrum--people who really do think the e-mail is spam, but are worried that clicking any links will just encourage the sender. Add to this the difficulties of calculating the percent of total e-mails that generate complaints, the absence of information that tells you if the complaint is vehement or just disinterested, and even the possibility of sabotage from competitors (OK, maybe not so much of a concern for non-profits), it's pretty hard to respond effectively to complaints. So what is a concerned non-profit to do? Stay tuned for part II, where Atlas will talk about systems for managing complaints that address these issues, and share your thoughts here!