OK, time for a little seasonal rant about one of my pet hates, Marketing Spam.
My email address is pretty important to me, I use it all the time and consequently I rely on it. Its my link to friends, family, fellow wargamers and yes a handful of selected wargames companies. On the whole I guard the distribution of my email address as much as I can. Whenever I order online, or am required to enter an email address to register with a website I always make sure that I deselect myself from receiving marketing emails. These things have a way of snowballing out of control and before you know it an email address can become unusable from the sheer volume of marketing spam being sent to it (I've lost two email accounts that way), and that's just the legitimate stuff and doesn't including when your address gets passed on to 'third parties' beyond your control. But some big high street retailers clearly don't value your personal space as much as you do.
So when I started receiving marketing emails from GAME in mid October I was initially surprised because I know I had deselected myself from their newsletter and other marketing material when I placed an order with them online. Fortunately most companies now include an Unsubscribe link in their emails and I quickly did just that and thought the matter over and done with. Then I received another marketing email from GAME, and another and another.
As Christmas has approached the amount of Marketing spam being spewed out by GAME has increased to fever pitch and I am now receiving daily mailings (sometimes twice daily) for products I am not interested in and do not intend on buying. Every single time I have hit the unsubscribe button and read the same pointless message "Are you sure you want your email address to be removed from all future GAME marketing emails?" [my emphasis]...well duh, yes I @&*$#!% do!
According to a report that came out before last years Christmas rush Marketing emails accounted for 70% of all spam complaints! Seventy percent! And the vast majority of this is being vomited out by legitimate High Street companies, not by criminal gangs operating out of Russia or some other jurisdictional black hole. In October this year the consumer magazine Which? said that in a recent survey it found the the average person is receiving more than 100 marketing emails per month. Even someone who guards their email address obsessively like myself receives in excess of 60-70 per month, so what can you do to mitigate this inrush of utterly pointless rubbish?
- First and foremost try not to give your email address out of you can. If you have no choice, when registering with a site for instance, make sure you opt-out of email newsletters and third party promotional emails or you will be flooded by spam. Once it starts its hard to stop.
- Sign up to the Email Preference Service which is run by the Direct Marketing Association - The irony of having to visit the website of the organisation set up to promote email spam to get it stopped isn't lost on me, but its worth a try. It won't stop a lot of the so called permission based spam (where you have to enter an email address to use a site and aren't given a choice to opt out of emails) but it may filter out some of the mail from 3rd parties.
- Most - but sadly not all - marketing emails have an unsubscribe link. I religiously unsubscribe from 'legitimate' marketing spam and sometimes it is acted upon promptly by the company involved...GAME have a lot to learn about this! However it's important to add you should avoid responding to spam emails if you have any doubts about who has sent them.
- Here's a crafty trick...set up a junk email address only to be used when you suspect you'll receive shit loads of spam. The marketeers can spam to their black hearts content and you won't have to read any of it.
- If you have a spam filter on your email account, activate it and Block Addresses for mail you don't want to get.
Of course the only sure fire way to avoid Spam altogether is to delete your account, throw out the computer and revert to a simpler way of life where we communicated using drums or smoke signals or something. However I have adopted an even more radical approach, Spam the bastards back! I've started my own campaign and have started to send as many complaints as I can to GAME's Customer services team. If they are going to abuse my email address then I might as well take full advantage of the two way link...I know its a moskito biting an elephant but it gets some of the anger and bile off my chest!