Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Decluttering the E-mail: Eliminating PR Spam

Mixed Berry-Acai Smoothie; photo by esimpraim, found on Flickr; licensed under Creative Commons

Exciting developments are at play for fitness authority, body image expert, TV personality and best-selling author Jennifer Cohen.

On behalf of the one and only Betty Crocker, I would like to introduce you to Fan Fare, a collection of fun new recipe ideas to enjoy while watching your favorite shows this fall.

I wanted to share with you information on iRenew’s new line of color wellness bracelets, ideal for women and men that are looking to maintain an active lifestyle in a fashionable way.

I wanted to send you a note and introduce you to 28Black and 28White the first all-natural beverages powered by the açaí berry.

As anyone who looks at my blog can readily tell, I don't write about recipes, fitness or health issues. So I was bewildered when I recently started getting a bunch of irrelevant pitches like these, from various PR firms.

I could have kept on deleting the messages, but I'd rather just not get them in the first place. So I wrote to the firms sending them, asking to be removed from their mailing lists, and noting (when applicable):
This message appears to violate the CAN-SPAM Act, since it provides no "clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future."
Two people wrote back and told me they were not in violation of the act, because they didn't have a mailing list; they got my name from the Cision database, where I was listed as a lifestyle blogger.

Well, I don't know whether or not that means they had an exemption from the CAN-SPAM act, but I was glad to know the source of the email pitches. I'd never heard of Cision, but it was easy to find on the web. And the folks at Cision were very responsive to my request to be removed from the database; they took care of it within a day.

Cision told me the company has researchers who look for bloggers who write about various topics, and then add those bloggers to the company's database. The bloggers are supposed to be notified when this is done; apparently, something went awry in my case.

So now another stream of useless e-mail has been eliminated, which feels good. I hope people who have developed organizing-related products or services will still write to me; I like hearing about those things! But if I never get another e-mail about acai berry — unless it's from the naturopathic doctor whose mailing list I choose to be on — it will be just fine by me.


Cynthia Friedlob said...

Cision's policy represents the excact opposite of permission marketing. You should be able to choose to opt in, not be notified (or not, as in your case) that you're already part of a database and then be forced to opt out. We're continually assaulted by too much information anyway, so this kind of thing really gets me steamed!

Speak said...

I agree. Its important that you should be able to choose to opt in rather than opting out. Information overload. Aghh!