Just Leave Me Alone Already


I tend to avoid online sites that require you to register and provide information including email addresses. In my experiences companies cannot resist sending email and my email load is extremely heavy and I want less email, not more. Sometimes, though, what I need to do requires an online registration and giving an email address to a company I would really prefer not to have it.
Recently, I had to register online with AT&T Wireless. My iPhone was getting repeated text spams and I wanted it to stop. The only way to do this is register online. Registering online required giving them an email address.
The text spam has stopped, but they have been sending me almost daily emails since then. Each email has an opt-out, and I have availed myself of every opportunity to opt-out. Each opt-out link takes me to a different site, a different page, a different process.
In two of the cases, AT&T seems to be violating the new CAN SPAM provisions. For one, I had to tell them what I wanted to opt-out of (email or phone) and then was taken to a page where I had to input my cell number, my email address and request to be removed. In another case,  I was forced to login to my online wireless account and then was able to change preferences. In only one of the 3 opt-outs I have requested, was the opt-out form actually a single click, just requiring my email address.
I am wondering just how many mailing lists AT&T added my address to and how often they will continue sending me mail after their 10 days are up. It is this level of frustration, that mail just keeps coming and coming and coming even after the recipient has repeatedly attempted to opt-out, that causes people to hit the “this is spam” button on mail that the sender thinks is opt-in.
But, really, AT&T, please stop sending me mail that I never asked for, and that I have repeatedly asked you to stop sending me by jumping through your hoops. Oh, and you may consider sharing the opt-out data with all the same internal groups that you shared my email address with initially.

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  • I totally agree with you: so called list exchange is sometimes even more frustrating than 100% illegal SPAM sent through zombie PCs, I am not expert on US legislation (I do know a little about the CANSPAM act), but in France this kind of practices are very borderline but kind of legal…
    This is a plague and I ALWAYS tell my clients to stay very far from such practices.

  • Check their privacy policy – it states that you may be receiving transactional messages. However, there was an issue a couple of months ago where ATT didn’t remove a number of un-subscribes and kept hitting them up repeatedly.

  • These are not even remotely transactional, though.
    “Enjoy Free AT&T Wi-Fi on Your iPhone”
    “TV, Internet & $200 back”
    “Keep your life in motion with YELLOWPAGES.COM Mobile for the iPhone”
    “Less Work, More Play with myWireless”
    Yeah. I don’t think so.
    Just to clarify: all the mail is from different AT&T divisions, they haven’t sold or traded my address to other companies. But each time I try to unsubscribe it’s a different process through a different ESP. We’ll see what happens when their 10 days are up.

  • This is the same company that uses their set top boxes to replace the entire screen with adverts during the middle of a programme, and require you to hit “OK” to get rid of the advert.
    It’s like web popups, on your TV.
    They presumably believe that saturating their existing customers with advertising for their services (in many cases services that the customer already is paying for) in as intrusive a way as possible will benefit them somehow.
    I don’t object to the advertising so much as I object to the really badly targeted, really badly implemented advertising.

  • I would suggest using something like the 10 minute mail in cases where you just need a quick verifiable email address. It requires no personal details and is deleted after 10 minutes. Great Idea- wish I had thought of it.

  • Something like 10 minute email works fine for companies that I just need an address for, not so much when there is some mail that I want (say, my billing statements) and the company decides to market me to death on the same address.
    I love my disposable and tagged email addresses, though. Gives me a lot of freedom to control my mail and know when vendors are not trustworthy.

  • It continues to surprise me that every provider of tagged and/or disposable addresses thinks they’re the first to come up with the idea. Tagged addresses have been built into open source software since the mid/late 1980s, and disposable addresses have been available to anyone who owns their own domain name since domain names were invented in the early 1980s.
    Now, of course, I have to wonder whether some of those services — particularly the free ones who make all sorts of outrageous claims, and come close to blog spam to advertise themselves — might be scammers.

By laura

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