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Where oh where have your manners gone?!

The blog post below was originally written about a year ago but never published.  Why publish it now you ask?  This week I got more spam from this same company. It made me so angry that I dug up this post and I hope it gets wide distribution. Here’s why.

From 2008 sometime…….

The other day I got an email in my inbox. It said in part….

Dear Lynda Partner,

Hi, this is Nick Longo the CEO of CoffeeCup Software, you have been selected
as one of the few that I would like to personally invite to become a CoffeeCup Ambassador. This is an exclusive club of our biggest fans, best users, and closest friends.

If you would like to become an Ambassador please Click Here:

……..

Please join us today. We need you as a Fan and Evangelist to spread the word
about CoffeeCup Software.Thank you so much for participating. I am honored to invite you.

Nick Longo
———–
CEO | Founder
CoffeeCup Software

My first thought was “I don’t know any Nick Longo”. My second thought was “How did this person get my email address?”

Sound familiar?

It took me awhile but it turns out that when I opened a web hosting account recently, the hosting provider offered a free download of Nick’s software. I  did not download it.

So how did they get my email address and why were they sending me emails I didn’t want that did not even have an opt-out link.

Fearful that my brand new, shiny clean email address was out in the big bad world of impolite marketers, I wrote back an equally personal email to my new friend Nick.

Dear Nick
I did not opt-in to receive email from you. Please remove me from your list immediately and confirm that I have been removed.
Thank you
Lynda Partner

OK, so maybe I wasn’t as flowery was he was in his email, but why waste his time with marketing speak? At least I was clear, and, giving him the benefit of the doubt, didn’t come right out and call him a spammer.

The answer came two hours later

Lynda
When you selected to download the software from CoffeeCup you became a user of our software. You can unsubscribe from our e-mail news letters at www.coffeecup.com/email
Scott

Hmmmm, looks like I’ve been bumped off the special CEO list. Nick has passed the baton to Scott. Now if you read the beginning of this article, you know I did not download any software. Even if I did, downloading software is not opting in to get email. I am now a bit peeved – when someone writes to you telling you they didn’t opt-in and requesting that they be removed from your list would you not remove them and send a nicely worded email apologizing?

I decide to pull out my credentials to see if that makes any difference. As my husband says “My, what big credentials you have dear.”

Scott

1) I did not download your software
2) Sending me emails that I did not request is called spam
3) Your unsubscribe link does not work

Why won’t you just take me off your list and confirm back to me?

Lynda Partner
- Founder and former CEO of GotCorp – permission-based email marketing software
- Past Board member of CAUCE Canada (Coalition against Unsolicited Commercial Email)
- Member of the Anti-Spam Task Force for the Canadian Federal Government
- CoFounder of the Email Service Provider’s Coalition

So now Scott has an unhappy well-informed person emailing him 1) that his unsubscribe method is flawed or at the very least unclear to the person using it, and 2) that for the 3rd time they’d like his company to remove a name from their list

What does Scott do next? I know you are waiting with bated breath…

Hi

As I said you did download the software. The IP address information all
matches up. I would agree that many you did not know what you were
downloading, but never the less the download occurred and this is how you because a CoffeeCup member.

You can also unsubscribe at any time through http://www.coffeecup.com/email
Scott

What would possess him to use  “As I said..” in a customer service email. Is this guy well? How many times would one of your prospects have to ask to be removed from a list before you’d do it for them? And signing someone up as a member does not give you permission to send them emails.

I confess at this point, I am no longer hoping he’ll do the right thing and restore my faith in him. I may have been a bit terse in my next email to him.

Did you even read my email?

I clicked your unsubscribe button. I want you to confirm
that  (email address spelled out) is not in your database any
longer – Today please or I will be obliged to report your company to
the many black list spam sites in my database

Lynda

At this point he does write back confirming I have been removed from his list and because my mother raised me to be polite and I am a little ashamed of my last outburst, I send the following

Thank you – after 5 requests we are finally where I wanted to be before I ever heard of your company.

I strongly suggest you change your practices – they are going to come back to bite you, especially if I ever get another unwanted email from you.

I figured we were done right? He finally did the right thing and removed me from his list. But no, a few minutes later I get the coup de grace.

I would also suggest you contact LP (the hosting company they are partnered with) because we show clearly that your account accessed and downloaded our software. You should have them cancel your account or you will still receive e-mail from us.

Scott

So I need to cancel my hosting account to avoid being spammed by a third party software vendor?  What can I possibly say at this point, except dear readers, the importance of following best practices (or even common sense) when sending emails to your prospects and customers. If not, it could be your company in a blog posting.

Such a little thing, such a big negative impact.

Written by Lynda Partner

July 16th, 2009 at 8:23 am

With 5 comments

5 Responses to 'Where oh where have your manners gone?!'

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  1. Hi Lynda,

    I stumbled across your blog post via Twittter today. After reading it over, I realize that I was out of line. Regardless of whether the software was downloaded, you didn’t deserve to receive unwanted e-mail. I should have resolved the issue promptly instead of dragging it out by insisting that I was right.

    I hope you can accept my apology. If you ever need anything from me or from CoffeeCup Software, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks for your time.

    Sincerely,

    Scott

    Scott Swedorski

    22 Jul 09 at 2:25 pm

  2. “After reading it over” AKA “after you made our illegal and immoral activities public”.

    Good post Lynda.

    Tommy D

    24 Jul 09 at 3:12 pm

  3. Lynda,

    That you for your post. I have been in your shoes more than once.

    Scott, Far too little, far too late.

    Judy Morency

    24 Jul 09 at 3:31 pm

  4. Lynda,

    as a happy user of coffee up software and someone who can’t stand spam, your post has made me upset. The last missive from Scott put me over the edge because it was the fifth time either Scott or Nick implied that they somehow have a right to send you email, whether you want to receive it or not.

    Goodbye Coffee Cup (control-alt-delete)

    Gary Gabriel

    25 Jul 09 at 2:34 pm

  5. Not just as a person who cannot stand spam, but as a person in sales and marketing, I don’t understand how companies like this believe people will either happily accept or even read these emails/offers. Ironically Nick emailed the wrong person, he is lucky it has not escalated thus far.

    Ben Collins

    27 Oct 09 at 10:17 am

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