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E-Mail Marketers – Be Gone!

 

June 3, 2010

It’s the spam that never dies. Persistent. E-mail marketers have figured out that I might be in charge of marketing at FreeBalance. It is really easy to find out what our business is all about. We have a website. We blog. We tweet. Yet, I receive numerous offers for e-mail lists. That manage to evade the spam filter. Two today, so far.

Have I got a list for you

E-mail marketers promise lists of important decision-makers in business in the United States. Notwithstanding the fact that FreeBalance sells exclusively to government. This is not a closely guarded secret. And, our focus in Canada and emerging nations is not hidden.

FreeBalance is a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE). This means that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is core to our company values. So, we avoid ethically suspect marketing activities. Especially spam.

FreeBalance is also a Canadian company. We must comply to Canadian privacy laws – PIPEDA, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.  This means that we cannot send e-mails to people unless they wish to receive them. Including non-Canadians.

How good are these lists?

You would think that e-mail marketing companies would now about PIPEDA. They should know something about the companies that are one their lists. Yet, they persist in sending e-mails to FreeBalance, a company that is clearly not the proper target. How accurate is their data? It is so easy to fix.

The last time I received a call about a “list”, I pointed out that our web site is very clear. “Why not check out web sites before calling,” I asked. “You can avoid calling non prospects and you can target your message better.” Her boss was interested in achieving the most phone calls, not the most effective calls. It’s no wonder that corporate performance management techniques have not been effectively leveraged in government – they’re not doing too well in business!

Towards a Manifesto on Ethical E-Mailing?

Most companies provide some form of privacy policy to customers. Written by lawyers. And, there is a lot of controversy over the privacy policies and changes to policies for many companies. Credit card numbers have been stolen. Private information has become public. Maybe we need a manifesto. A CSR standard for ethical e-mailing. At this point, we just saying “no”.

From now on, I will reply to this primitive form of marketing with a link to this page. I’m curiously tempted to list the names of these companies. Is this ethical? Have they not given up any rights for privacy?

There was a time when spam was amusing, not it’s a digital blight

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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