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Saturday, March 8, 2014


Fighting Back Against Spampaigners

Increasingly, over the last 24 months or so, Email has become little more than a dung heap of ridiculous pitches, scams and spampaigns. The worst offenders are the "third party" services who promise  big bux to anyone who, under the guise of "Make Money on the Internet," will spend a few hours each day sending out unwelcome spam on behalf of their clients.

This has got to be the most ineffective way to advertise anything—as well as the most annoying. I simply can't fathom how flooding Email inboxes with dozens of identical Emails—typically all with the same title but from different senders—can do anything but drive business away.

Over the last few months, one of my main business Emails has been getting relentlessly slammed—everything from pitches for vinyl siding (I live in a log home) and solar panels, to term life insurance, Lunar Sleep products, Sam's Rewards, Lemon trees and fantastic new deals Obama has cooked up just for me.

It wouldn't be so bad if it was just one Email for each pitch, but it's not. In the last week alone I bet I received over 50 identical Emails from something called "LunarSleep," plus several dozen from "Train Curves," and an equally aggravating amount from "Trader Joe's Faves."

That last one really ticked me off because I happen to like Trader Joe's, and now that we finally have one in this area, it was with mixed feelings that I submitted the following comments to TJ's website:

PLEASE STOP! - Over the last 4 days I have received no less than 25 Emails from "Trader Joe's Faves" - I have trashed all of them and have decided that, while I have long been a fan of TJ's, I cannot and will not be shopping at TJ's or Aldi's EVER AGAIN in the future. This type of in your face spamvertising is not necessary and drives away more customers than it attracts.

Now, Any company that doesn't realize the extensive damage that is being done by these sloppy third parties spammers obviously has some serious internal issues—so I was somewhat relieved to get this slightly customized boilerplate response from Hazel at Trader Joes:

Hello Robert,  Thank you for sharing your comments, and we do certainly wish to extend our sincere apologies.  However, the emails you recently received are actually in no way associated with Trader Joe's, and appears to be a spam campaign.  We are certainly sharing the feedback with the appropriate parties within our company for review, and again we do apologize for any frustration and inconvenience this matter has caused.

Hazel, Trader Joe's, Customer Relations 

Whether they will, or even can, actually do anything is another matter. As George Costanza's late fiancee Susan often said, "You can put your sorrys in a sack." So, after sending TJ's a complete list of all the return Email addresses responsible for sending out this bogus deal, I decided the best way to make this stop—short of setting up all new Email addresses—was just to tighten up my spam filters to the max. How this is done depends on the Email client you use, but I can tell you right off that clicking "unsubscribe" on any individual Email will have virtually no effect. That usually only removes you from one sender's list and often will even open the very Email you are trying to dispatch. You need to go into you junk mail filters and see what your options are.

Truth be told, however, it is a losing battle. And as the spam problem grows, so will be the number of people who choose to communicate through spam free channels such as Linked In, Skype, Facebook messaging or one of the many other options. Too bad. I thought email was cool—while it lasted. Is it any wonder at all that the under 30 crowd would rather text than Email? (which is the subject of another post).

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