SMM  Strategic Marketing Montreal







The Hermes Protocol enables responsible sellers to communicate with potential purchasers. It sets a code of behaviour for such responsible sellers. It allows potential purchasers to quickly and reliably terminate the sales solicitation, if they so wish. An explanation of the Protocol and the reasons for it are given in Newsletter 23. Hermes was the Greek Messenger of the Gods.




A responsible seller following the Hermes Protocol accepts the following rules, without exception. In the following, "I" can be replaced by "My Company", if more appropriate:

1. I will not use automatic computer-based methods to crawl the World Wide Web to capture e-mail addresses in order to send sales solicitation e-mail messages to such addresses.

2. I will make every effort to limit my sales solicitation to those potential customers, where I believe my products and services can provide superior benefits as determined by such customers.

3. I will make every effort to verify by other means that e-mail addresses are correct for those potential customers defined in 2.

4. I will make every effort to contact such potential customers by telephone or by regular mail to determine their interest in receiving sales information from my company.

5. I will send to potential customers only one e-mail message introducing the products and services with a subject line as follows:

[H] Description of product or service being offered. [H]

This subject should be so clear, that the recipient can determine easily which of the following actions he or she wishes to take:
a) I do not wish to have any further communication from this source - so I will add this source to my junk e-mail addresses.
b) I do not wish to follow this up now. I do not object to hearing from this source again not less than 6 months from now - so I will return a blank email response
c) This may be interesting so I will view the body of the email message.

This single e-mail message can also be called "hmail".

6. The body of the hmail will have the following introductory line:

[H] This hmail is governed by the Hermes Protocol. See end of message for details. [H]

At the end of the hmail, the following paragraph will be included.

[H] This hmail is sent to you under the terms of the Hermes Protocol. Further information on the Hermes Protocol can be found at It is believed that the products and services offered to you can provide superior benefits. If you do not want follow-up sales solicitation within the next 6 months, then click on the reply button and send a blank reply including this message. You will not be recontacted within the next 6 months, unless you contact us to permit this. We apologize for any incovenience caused to you. [H]

7. I undertake not to recontact within 6 months any potential customer who sends me a reply as set out in 5.


Does your company intend to adopt the Hermes Protocol and send only hmail to prospective customers? Do you have suggestions on how the Hermes Protocol could be improved? Whatever your reaction, please give us your feedback.



Copyright 2002 Barry Welford, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Added to site 11 December 2002