Dear Mailing List Moron: Permission Not Granted!

Dear Mailing List Moron: Permission Not Granted!

It seems that moronic marketing tactics and activities come round in cycles. Have you ever noticed that?

I get waves of poorly pondered automatic DMs on Twitter. Then, a week or so passes and I start to see boorish batch posting, often on Twitter, but also on Facebook, Instagram and even Google+. If I wait another week I’m sure to see some other nefarious “ninja” behavior which will cause me to shake my head and bemoan the bumbling idiots who give the digital marketing industry a bad name.

This week, I’m sad to say (well, not all that sad as it’s given me a nice rant rampant topic for an article), sees one of the cyclical returns of the mailing list moron.

Who Is The Mailing List Moron?

So, who is this rogue marketer? Who is this moron marauding our inbox?

First of all I understand that a “marauder” is someone who steals, and I’ll get to that in just a moment!

The mailing list moron is that sad marketer or business owner who still hasn’t managed to suss out the difference between acceptable email practices and spam submissions.

Spam, it seems to me, couldn’t be easier to spot. If I didn’t ask for it, it’s probably spam. If you send offers and event invites without ever engaging in a single conversation with me, it’s probably spam.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a gigantic gray area for many a marketer. It’s some sort of cloudy mask that makes rather obvious spam sends seem smart and savvy.

I think all marketers should be forced to read, pass a test for reading comprehension, and the sign off on the CAN-SPAM Act. Yes, it’s a long and detailed document, but it’s LAW!

But even a quick scan pretty effectively spells out spam, so there really can’t be any allowance for confusion and continued spammy sends and suffering (on my part, and the part of anyone else who receives mail from the morons).

Permission Is Paramount!

I’m ready to get back to the idea of the mailing list moron engaging in thievery. No, I don’t think most offenders are intent upon stealing my identity or my clients. It’s a much more subtle swindle.

The acts of these individuals steal my choice and my time.

The email newsletters and updates that make their speedy digital way to my inbox should be of my choosing. I decide what’s right for my already full reading list.

Like many a marketer, my inbox is pretty ding-danged full of the messages I want to receive, along with receipts for digital services, update notices and, this might shock you, requests from my clients and colleagues!

I shouldn’t have to waste my time wading in to see what you’ve sent me when I didn’t ask for it!

I Shouldn’t Have To Opt-Out!

You might be thinking, but it only takes a few seconds to opt-out of the emails you don’t want to receive. And you’re correct. But, consider the marketer that makes a lot of connections. And consider if even a handful of those new connections decide to add that poor marketer to a list without permission. It ends up adding several opt-outs to that marketer’s to-do list.

If that marketer is anything like me (and probably you, too), that to-do list is pretty full. Possibly bursting at the seams.

Even the smallest of distractions can derail the busy.

And when I’m sent an email without my permission, I choose to let the sender know that I’m a bit miffed. So it’s not a few seconds clicking on the unsubscribe button. If there’s no means of mentioning their moronic measure in the opt-out form, I take the time to send a note.

Why do I do this? Because I have the tiniest tempting glimmer of hope that I can dissuade the moron from adding other busy marketers to his/her list. I’m paying it forward.

That, however, doesn’t stop the distraction or the time suck involved. If I didn’t ask for your email, I shouldn’t be forced to ask for your email to stop!

Connection Isn’t Permission!

It should come as no surprise that acceptance of your Facebook friend request doesn’t equal permission. Nor does my acceptance of your LinkedIn connection request.

Shockingly, that email I sent you three years ago? Also, not me actually giving you permission to add me to your mailing list.

If I want your email newsletter or your drip campaign to arrive in my inbox, I’ll visit your site and sign up. Professional email marketing apps and software make this rather easy. You can set up a sidebar widget or simple contact form and feature it prominently on your site.

Spammers, Seriously … Just Don’t!

This issue has been talked about in so many ways. Discussions have been had on Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin. Podcasts have hashed this out. It’s no secret that spammy sends are SO NOT social.

There’s simply no reason allowing for the continuation of mailing list moronics.

8 replies
  1. Frithjof
    Frithjof says:

    Last year Canada passed the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation CASL making it one of the toughest world wide. One of the biggest differences is the fact that it now is an “Opt-in” law. The other new feature is that it comes with stiff fines. The first ones were handed out just recently.

    I did a lot of homework, seminars and blog posts about this and got into many heated discussions. Like every law CASL has it’s shortcomings but the bottom line is that SPAM eats up a lot of resources and we have to start building effective tools to stop it.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      That’s fantastic, Frithjof.

      Love your take on it as a waste of resources. Succinct and smart.

  2. Danny Brown
    Danny Brown says:

    Hey there Mallie,

    As Frithjof mentions, the CASL legislation is very touch on spammers. They’ve just issued their first non-compliance fine – $1.1 million to Compu-Finder.

    While effective, it still needs education and widespread awareness. I can’t help but feel it’s only marketers and PR firms that are aware of it (though that still doesn’t stop some from breaking it).

    The double-opt in (for me) is one of the best ways for ethical marketers (and bloggers) to move forward. There’s no gray area there as to whether someone subscribed or not – confirming an action twice removes that. It might also stop shitty mailing list buying practices, too – we can but hope.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Couldn’t agree more about the double opt-in, Danny. And they are so easy to set up these days. It’s not like you have to be a web developer genius!

      I may do a follow up “When Cheap Cheats You” read on the downside of buying lists/followers/etc.

  3. Anton Rius
    Anton Rius says:

    Thanks for taking my thoughts out of my head and writing this, Mallie. You know what really grinds my gears? People on G+ pinging me with stuff I’m in no way interested in. It’s the kind of inexcusable behavior that completely ruins my opinion of someone. And not just on G+. Twitter, Facebook, email, carrier pigeon. It doesn’t matter what form it’s in, it’s just a terrible, desperate way to get someone’s attention.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      LOL, Anton. Always happy to pick your brain via osmosis, Anton! 🙂

      I agree with you completely, as you well know. Connections and common sense sadly seem to be far too frequently mutually exclusive.

  4. Brian D. Hawkins
    Brian D. Hawkins says:

    Hi Mallie, I agree with both you and Danny, double opt-in is really the only way to go.

    I recently switched email management services and to transfer those already on the list I turned off the double opt-in – just for that initial transfer. After a decade of nothing but double opt-ins, it was almost scary to do that, even though everyone had already double opted in once.

    I made sure the double opt-in was turned back on for every subscription after that because I want to be certain everyone receiving my emails actually want them. In fact, if they don’t open one for 6 months, I remove them myself.

    The only exceptions I’m looking at in the near future is for membership and webinar lists. I think if someone pays for a membership site or takes the time to register for a webinar, requiring an additional step is probably unnecessary.

    Nice topic and I do feel your pain. 😉

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Most of the time I’m disgruntled, rather than pained, Brian. But it doesn’t make spam tactics any more appealing, does it? So glad to see someone else stepping up and saying if it’s not double opt-in, it’s not permitted!

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