While I am sure that I get more than my fair share of spam – at least 500 messages a day, all filtered out thank goodness – I nonetheless sometimes look through and try to get a sense of what kind of products are popular with spammers (which is to say which products they believe can sell through less than savory marketing) and how they tend to position and promote individual products. It’s like listening to a huckster or streetcorner vendor to learn person to person selling, I imagine.
Every so often, though, I find that legitimate companies are using techniques that are perilously close to spam and often actually get caught in my spam filters. A while back I wrote about how Disney uses spam in its marketing and indeed, a few days ago I received a notice from Disney about its new Adventure holidays, even though I’m 100% sure I opted out of future mailings from the company.
And then there’s Reunion.com
The concept behind the Reunion.com site is pretty darn cool: wouldn’t it be nice if there was a site focused on putting each of us back in touch with those people from our past that have just fallen out of our address books, graduated and went who-knows-where, moved away from the last address we had for them, and changed jobs out of the division where we once shared a desk?
Generally, I’m not one who has lots of friends from decades ago, but it’d be fun to check in with some of my old pals, like my junior high school pal Mitch Chase, or my high school partner in crime Ivan Avetissian, but we’ve moved on our separate paths and not being in touch with them isn’t that big a deal to me.
And yet. When I get an email that says “four people searched for you last week” there’s a small tug, a tiny bit of curiosity. I mean, wouldn’t it be cool if they were looking for me too?
That’s why it’s a darn shame that Reunion.com resorts to this sort of drivel:
The key to this ultimately being spam is in the small print on the bottom of the email, and I quote:
“You received this email because you are registered at Reunion.com using the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org, a friend invited you, your high school is having a reunion, or you registered with a partner of ours.”
That last bit is the key: I register with some other site (who knows which one) that has a private, even secret, registration sharing arrangement with Reunion.com and suddenly I’m now a viable target for their endless spam?
This is not a good way to run a business.
Worse, for a company like Reunion.com, it’s like throwing mud into the drinking fountain. The company could have a good reputation and could even be doing good work matching up long-lost friends and lovers, but with this sort of garbage email, I don’t have any patience for them or for their style of business.
Doesn’t anyone at Reunion.com think through the ramifications of their marketing tactics?
Ah well. At least I can tell both Mitch and Ivan that I’d love to hear from them and catch up on a lotta years. Just skip reunion.com as a way for us to find each other, guys.