How the Internet takes your email mistakes and magnifies them

Latest posts | Feed | By Mark Brownlow

old telephoneYou may have heard about Vonage's email marketing misjudgments. It seems they broke a few unspoken rules about how to treat addresses submitted through "refer-a-friend" programs.

Both CNet and Andy Sernovitz broke original stories on the subject. And various bloggers have picked up the "Vonage" thread.

There are two lessons here.

The first is a permission one. If I give you my friend's email address, the tacit assumption is that it's used once. You don't have permission from the address owner to add their address to any lists. Nor from the address submitter to use their name again much later.

But the intricacies of refer-a-friend aside, perhaps a more salient lesson is this...

Previously, errors of marketing judgment were punished by poor results for that particular marketing effort. But that was all.

Today, such errors can see your whole brand punished. The Internet gave "victims" a voice. And influence. The price for failure is much higher. The margin for error much tighter.

No more so than in the world of email marketing, where there's a fine line between legitimate email and spam. And a big image problem for those who find themselves accused of standing on the wrong side of it.

Better to learn that lesson through the experience of others, rather than your own.

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Permalink | June 25, 2007 | 1 comment(s)
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Mark -

Thanks for helping to spread the word on this mess.

By Anonymous Andy Sernovitz, on 25 June, 2007  

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