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time management

Bad Pitch PR Spam via Constant Contact and Mail Chimp

One of the most difficult tasks as it relates to time management is keeping the inbox functional. You’ll see that I don’t aspire to have a zero anywhere there, just manageable. I use my inbox as a place to store data. When I’m standing at Costco I can scroll through emails from Mr. G and be reminded that I need to buy shaving cream and gift cards. I love the ability to search keywords in my inbox and instantly come up with the email I knew I needed.

Unfortunately some marketers and publicists add bloggers like me to their email blast lists. They do it a bunch of different ways and not only do these pitches not work with me (and you can assume they won’t work with any solo blogger) but they can backfire in monumental ways that folks on the other end need to be aware of.

I am not interested in the same pitch everyone else gets. The only reason people read this site is because I am a “breath of fresh air” (which is apparently Australian for “obnoxious”). If a publicist emails me and 200 of my closest colleagues there is no good reason for me to respond. I don’t need the same information as everyone else. I need different information. I need to continue being a breath of fresh air. I’m willing to bet most other bloggers would agree.

When the salutation reads:

Hey there,
Hi Mommy Blogger,

You’ve made it easy on me. I hit “spam” and your email disappears forever. Do I recognize that this method cuts me off from potentially great offers? Yes, but I also recognize that a good PR firm wouldn’t risk this. Your spam is my litmus test.

Advanced spammers use icontact, MailChimp, Constant Contact and other similar services. Last week I spent one morning unsubscribing to more than a dozen of these email subscriptions. I have ONE Constant Contact subscription that I’ve opted-in to, it’s for my children’s school.

It’s nice that all of these email subscription services have a one click unsubscribe available, but you still have to enter your email so I guess it’s not one click. What I’d like to do is be able to block Mail Chimp users from adding me to their lists. So I contacted Mail Chimp to ask them about this and they let me know in a form letter that it was not possible, I should use the unsubscribe button. I have a hard time believing that no one at Mail Chimp is capable of adding email addresses to a black list. If that is the truth then I’d be wary of using Mail Chimp’s service because they aren’t particularly advanced. What I suspect is the more likely scenario is that they just don’t care to spend resources on things like making people not hate them. 

This week, as a special thank you to Mail Chimp I forwarded each and every unsolicited bit of email they sent me to [email protected]. Some days it was five in a row, other days there were none. I received a form letter explaining that I could unsubscribe and I’d diligently respond to that form letter by explaining to them that I’d like them to block my email address from their servers. I have a feeling that I wasted someone’s time and that they felt annoyed and less productive when I sent them the same message over and over again.

The folks over at Constant Contact are terrific. Yes, their clients totally abuse my inbox but they are willing and able (as every email subscription service should be) to block my email from their servers. Alas I need Constant Contact because my children’s school sends their weekly updates this way. I’ve been forwarding all my Constant Contact emails to [email protected] and they’ve blocked my alternate emails from their servers.

I’ve also set up filters for my email accounts. Kardashian and Oprah have their own filters as well as a few other celebrity names. I mean if you’ve already got the endorsement of a retired talk show host and an amateur porn star what more can I do for a brand?

In 2012 my inbox won’t be an out of control beast. I’m not sure how I’ll make that happen. I might switch email addresses again next week as I find that buys me a few months of manageability.

What do you suggest?