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If you want to spam, don’t be stupid

Some random UK email marketing company that I’ve never heard of harvested my address off of LinkedIn (yes, it’s my LinkedIn specific address) and is now spamming me advertising their cheap email marketing services. There were a lot of things about this particular mail that really annoyed me. The annoyance wasn’t just spam in a folder that shouldn’t have spam, it’s that the spam itself was badly done.

The thing is, they could have done this in a way that didn’t annoy me enough to blog about them being spammers. A teeny, tiny amount of effort and an ounce of empathy for their recipients and I wouldn’t have anything to blog about today.

If you want to spam, don’t be stupid. How can you avoid being stupid?

1) Send only one email and make it clear in the message this is a one time (or limited time) email. Don’t just randomly harvest addresses off a website, like Submission Technology did today, and add all those addresses to your marketing list. Spam is an interruption and an annoyance. And if spammers had any sense they’d limit the amount of time they spent annoying and interrupting recipients.

2) Target your email correctly and don’t be lazy. This morning’s mail from Submission Technology was advertising their UK specific marketing programs. They have my LinkedIn profile, they know I’m on the other side of the US from the UK.

3) Don’t lie about where you got my name. In this case, I know Submission Technology harvested it off LinkedIn because that’s the address they are sending it to. And, in fact, in the email they sent they mention they are sending this to me because we’re connected on LinkedIn. The problem is, I can find no trace of a connection between us on LinkedIn. And, yes, I did look because I generally drop connections that add me to their mailing lists.

One part of my anger at this particular spam is that they’ve appropriated a tagged email address of mine and added it to their marketing lists. That’s breaking my filtering.

After doing a little research into their company and their practices, though, I have to wonder if they’re going to sell my address. It seems that Submission Technology sells addresses to their customers, among other product offerings. Is this address that I’ve dedicated to handling LinkedIn specific emails really now going to end up getting spam from UK companies?

Based on multiple online reports (Andy Merrett and Ben Park) it doesn’t even look like unsubscribing will be sufficient to get this mail to stop.

One of the most amusing bits links that showed up was a comment on a post here from 2008. It seems that they spammed Steve Linford and were SBLed for it. I’m only guessing that since they’re not still listed they’ve figured out how to suppress Steve’s address at least.

Sending unsolicited email can be a problem for bulk senders; you risk alienating your potential customers, getting blocked and developing a poor reputation. Some of those problems can be mitigated by not being stupid.

1 comment

  1. Al Iverson says

    Yeah, I’ve had a few different times where marketers thought that it was okay to export from LinkedIn and import into their ESP. Thatz NOT okay, even if you’re doing it “just to send me an email christmas card.” I get so much spam — making your spam prettier doesn’t really solve the permission problem.

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