… and bad acquisition practices

I talked last week about how incentivizing people to sign up for your mailing list could be effective when it’s done well.

This week I’m staying at a Large International Hotel Chain and I’ve got a great example of what happens when it’s done poorly.

The “free” wifi requires you to join the hotel’s loyalty programme. I’ve done that in the past, so I login with my email address and password. Nope, the email address isn’t what you log in with, it’s an obscure nine digit number (but I only discover this after assuming I’d forgotten my password and attempting the password recovery dance, which doesn’t work).

OK, new loyalty programme account time. I create a new throwaway^W tagged email address and cough up some contact information. I get a welcome email. It has a Reply-To: address of, literally, “REPLYTOADDR”.

The newly created account also doesn’t actually get me in to the hotel wifi. I’m probably not going to be a terribly receptive recipient when they start emailing me at that address about what a great hotel they are. I’ll just unsubscribe. Any reasonable recipient not in the email industry will probably hammer the “this is spam” button until the mail goes to their spam folder and doesn’t come back.

On a somewhat related note, I have line-of-sight to a nearby discount mall. They have free public wifi and “” already has an account on it in the name of “Eric”. I wonder how much email they send Eric?


  1. Huey says

    Somebody in the office planned a work function using one of those free party-planner sites, and I couldn’t figure out why everybody kept asking who ‘Shane’ was.

    Turns out it was me, “Shane “

  2. Huey says

    ( Shane’s email address is apparently “” )

  3. Alex says

    Poor Eric


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