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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Occupational hazards

One of the mild irritants of being the proprietor of such an aged (if not distinguished) parenting blog is the steady stream of emails one receives from marketing departments and PR operations. I suppose the poor dears can't be faulted for assuming that parenting bloggers of all stripes acquired the hobby primarily for the chance to Collect Free Stuff Whilst In The Service of Advertising-Based Consumerism. That is, after all, a big part of what parenting blogs do these days, and it's certainly the portrait of parenting blogs presented by the mainstream media. My local paper, The Boston Globe, has run several articles about product-based parenting blogs recently. If you're a hip, happening, Google-enabled marketing professional, of course you're going to be combing the "About Me" pages of even the most infrequently updated parenting blogs, looking for email addresses for moms who want to help you get the word out about your fascinating product or service in exchange for free stuff!

So. I get where these folks are coming from, and I feel for them. Why not harvest my email address and send me their latest marketing blast? Why not send me several marketing blasts per month, with no "unsubscribe" link? (Which, okay, let's not even get me started about the idea that I should have to opt out of an email list that I didn't subscribe to in the first place. But at least it's some way to put a stop to it.) Chances are I would love the chance for Free Stuff! And, on the off chance that just possibly I don't? Well, hey. What's the opportunity cost of email-blasting people who don't want to be email-blasted? Nothing. So why not?

Mmmm, well. I propose to develop a good reason why not. So here I present to you what I hope will be a very, very occasional feature: The Spammity Spam Hall of Shame. Presented to those marketers with very poor email etiquette: frequent emails, no unsubscribe link, particularly annoying content, and/or design features that make it difficult to filter them directly into the trash.

Our first winner of the Spammity Spam Hall of Shame is a local Boston company called [NAME REMOVED, because the company has promised to review its email practices]. The email I got today -- which assures me that my readers would love to hear about it, and I'm taking them at their word, as you can see -- avoided the filter I'd set to send their stuff directly to the trash. AND it contained a typo in the first sentence! AND it doesn't have an unsubscribe link! AND, best of all, it recycles a press release from June 24 which informs me that shoppers get a 5% discount on July 7! Only today is the 14th! So that's pretty damn useful, thanks!

The moral of this story, o marketing gurus, is that you can find my email address in the "About Me" link, yes. But you might want to think twice before you use it. Unless you're of the considered opinion that all publicity is good publicity, even the kind that associates your name with spammers via the Great God Google.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


I just have a quick question for you but couldn't find an email so had to resort to this. I am a progressive blogger and the owner of the mahablog. Please email me back at barbaraobrien@maacenter.org when you get a chance. Thanks.


12:54 PM, March 30, 2010  

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