Monday, December 26, 2011


I did a lot of my Christmas shopping in the Internet this year.  Most of it was laziness, but a lot of it was just that I hate crowded stores.  The advent of free shipping means I can usually get what I want, with less effort, at at least a comparable price without having to leave the house and put up with people.

This morning I woke up to almost 100 spam emails from various vendors.  So here's my take on it:

  • I know what I need and most of what I want.  If I've done business with you in the past, I will check your website for good prices before buying something.  Getting 5 emails from the same company in one day moves that company down the list.
  • If I'm already sending your charity a check every month, rest assured that it's the most I can afford to send at the moment.  As things improve, my donations will also improve.  There really isn't a need to ask for more.  And yes, I already tell my friends about your cause.
  • If you're a charity and you sell my information to other charities so that they can spam me, kiss my donations goodbye.  Look at it this way:  My charitable donations budget is a finite amount of money.  Every additional charity that catches my attention and gets a bit of it reduces the amount of money for those causes that I already support.  Is the couple of bucks you get for my email address enough to compensate for having my donations reduced or eliminated?
  • If you're a political party, candidate, office holder, or advocate organization, the quickest way to lose my support is to start sending me requests for funding more than once a month or so.  I had 15 emails in the past three days from a large gun-rights organization.  Guess who's going on the naughty list?
  • Being sneaky is a bad idea.  One clever lady sent me an email that read like a family Christmas newsletter, but all of the information was about how her agency could save me money on insurance, and the family-sounding link at the bottom of the email led me to her business site.   Nice try.
  • NFL teams - I either hope that you will dominate or I hope you lose in an epic way.  Sending me emails directing me to your team paraphalia store isn't going to get me to like you any more. Honestly, I already have a Raiders tee shirt and a Vikings hat.

So, that's what I don't like about solicitation emails.  Here's how to do it right:

  • Send me emails when you come up with or start carrying new products, preferably once every month or so.  That way I know what's going on with companies I've done business with in the past, but don't feel pressured.
  • Send me emails when products go on sale that are consumables, such as ammunition, cleaning supplies, or camping food.  If I know it's something that I will use and then have to replace, I'm more likely to stock up if I see a good deal.
  • Be honest.  If you're emailing me to try to get me to buy something from you, be up front about it.
  • If you're a charity, an occasional email telling me about what y'all have been up to recently is nice.  No need for daily or weekly updates.
  • I use my smart phone to read my email.  Send emails that can be read easily on that platform. Bonus points for plain text.  Big minus is to just send a picture that links to your website.
If we all play by these guidelines, I'll get less spam, you'll get more of my money, and we'll all feel like we came out ahead in the game.

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