Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Today’s spammers are…

I don’t have time to name and shame all the email spam I get but I will continue to highlight a few in the hope that it might actually make a difference and make the industry sit up and take notice and change their ways of doing business and running campaigns. It feels like there is a complete disregard of consumers as *real* people. These companies are suffering from TDC, aka Thinly Disguised Contempt – often seen in retail environments but is now spilling over into digital. They seem to have forgotten that *data* isn’t just *data*. It is actually attached to someone real, with a heartbeat and thoughts and feelings and who is ‘not just a number’ or a record on the database. It’s not just about conversion rates and click throughs and a numbers game. This is about real live people. And these email spam companies are wasting real live people’s time, bandwidth and testing their patience.

So an update on Daily Picture / Mikkelsen Media. Their UK MD did call me an did apologise and did assure me I’d been taken off the database. He even rang me to check that I hadn’t got anything from them. So I thought, ok, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt…. And then today, they send me more junk email. If their systems are so broken that an email address cannot be removed from the database, they have no business in sending out any emails at all I would suggest.

And another new spammer on the list is Cabestan who allegedly do email campaigns for the likes of Symantec. Well they send me an email to a *completely made up address* today selling me life cover so this is very much a consumer-based service not a work-related one so consumer laws do apply as I understand it.

Here’s the small print from the email:

Click is a brand licensed to Castle Publicity International Ltd registered in Gibraltar, company registration number (84755) at 932 Europort. Click Financial Ltd is the service provider for Castle Publicity International Ltd. Click Financial Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, registered number 311877. Registered in England and Wales at: Click House, Bear Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7LG. Registered Number: 04183791.
*Policies from £2.50 a month, premium subject to individual circumstances.

If you don't recognize who used the Cabestan UK service to send you a given message, you can report it to us as spam by sending it to abuse@cabestan.co.uk. We receive, investigate, catalog, and take action based on these complaints. If you're worried that we would simply "list wash" your address without further investigation, feel free to report the message to whatever spam reporting entity you feel most comfortable working with. Spamcop at www.spamcop.net provides an easy way to report unwanted mail as spam.

Interesting that they suggest I tell spamcop. I’ve emailed them and suggested reporting them to the Information Commissioner.

Spam, spam and more spam. Companies like these are spoiling it for legitimate email marketers and will ultimately make email marketing, and arguably email itself, a very unattractive proposition indeed.

3 comments:

  1. Well, we share your Frustration Helen.

    thats why I use Spamarrest, but sadly that doesn't help neither, as a lot of legitimate emails got trapped (people don't read/respond to the challenge email)..

    and yes, I just got a complaint when I was last in Hong Kong, when the Chairman of Asia of a big private equity firm told me off as he said spamarrest is the worst spammer of all as they emailed him a few times..

    I guess there is no winner/solutions to our spam filled world!?? or is there?

    @GarethWong

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  2. Hi Helen,

    Sorry to hear that you're having E-mail marketing woes.

    What I find interesting here is that these are 2 companies that actually have real contact details - and are traceable. They are responsible not just to SpamCop - but to be in compliance with EU and UK Data Protection and Distance Selling regulations.

    And in this vain - I find that most of these companies actually have an opt-in (somewhere) for each e-mail address. Here's my suggestion.

    ""Trust through transparency""

    In every direct mail communication ( including e-mail, postal mail, telemarketing or other ) it is required to identify the date, time, place and circumstance in which the opt-in permission was obtained.

    If I accidentally filled out a form and gave my permission - tell me when and where
    If I am one of your existing customers - remind me of my customer care contact details.
    If I filled out a form and checked the box to allow marketing from "our trusted partners" - then you must tell me the partner company.


    All of this would have the effect of "cleaning up" the data brokering / list brokering business and lead to much more credible - and respectful - and responsible direct marketing.

    What do you think?


    Troy

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  3. Helen, I enjoyed reading your post though dated, info is still current. I work from home and somewhat mischievous, occasionally sending a "hello" to a given spammer and the amial address provided, never replying directly to their email. None have ever returned the hello, so I guess they are living up to what they are called, spam.. I do participate on healthier online forums, and have a blog of my own which is starting to attract a follower here and there. I wish the world were either smaller or a "friendlier place" but that isn't gonna happen in my life time.. Good day from Mellow Roc

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Keep it clean please. Spam will be removed. And thank you for taking the trouble to read and comment. I appreciate it.