Email abuse – it’s coming your way!

I’ve been in marketing for almost 20 years. And, for the past 10 years in particular, I’ve leaned on email marketing to generate leads (and hence, revenue).  CAN-SPAM came along and all of us leveraging email worried. Including me. But now, several years after the fact, many expert marketing people (me included 🙂 ) have realized that CAN-SPAM is just common sense. And basically, the way we were doing business anyway.  But there are the outliers…

At my last firm, we have just such an outlier. He worked in the sales department, not marketing, so he seemed to have free rein.  Since sales usually is not tasked w/ lead gen, they don’t have the expertise to understand how it works. And this person leveraged that. Even worse, he truly believes in what he does. Reminded me of Jim Jones and the Kool-Aid. Anyway, he is effective. But the question has always been – at what cost?

Please watch this video.

In it, he talks about taking email addresses (could be you and me) from websites.  He’s basically harvesting them from your company website, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc. If you match the target audience, he’s stealing your email address and adding it to his database. And then using it to blast you for sales purposes. You have not opted in. Hell, you may not even know who the firm is. You probably have no interest (not his problem – he just gets paid to drive attendance).

And many people probably ignore it. Maybe at best you add him (his client!!) to your spam filter.

Anyway, at my last firm, we (the marketing group) wouldn’t let him use our email firm since he obviously violated their terms for common sense email practices.  And now he has a business doing this.

Here’s how marketing and sales should work together: or

NON-permission email lists (as he calls them on his LinkedIn group; literally with the caps on the NON) is just something I don’t believe in. Harvesting email addresses off web sites and social media sites just seems slimy to me.


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  1. uberVU - social comments on

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by GregDonahue: My latest (and short!!) blog posting on email marketing practices. I’d be interested in your comments! Please RT

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