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My victory over spam - Peter Hentges

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September 25th, 2009


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04:39 pm - My victory over spam
Some time ago, I subscribed to an email list owned by Sony Pictures. I'm guessing this was in anticipation of one of their releases that I wanted to keep an eye on. Watchmen, maybe? It doesn't really matter.

Earlier this month, I started the process of trimming down the email that I receive. I chose to do this because I'm reading more and more mail on my iPhone. While a handy thing, it doesn't really have great features for automatic mail handling, so some things I'd relegated to spam or sorted into folders automatically now needed manual handling.

As various mails came in I dutifully clicked through to their unsubscribe features and in most cases I was informed that I'd been removed from their lists. The one glaring exception* was Sony Pictures. Following their unsubscribe link got me to a page that informed me that my address was not in their database and that I should forward the mail to their webmaster@ address. So I did but never received any response from that address. (This didn't surprise me greatly. As someone on the other end of one of those address for a few years, I can assure you that they get tons of mail.)

I wasn't too bothered by this the first time. I figured it was just a glitch that would get cleared up. The second time was also not a big deal to me as it had just been a week or so. The third time I had to go through this rigmarole I started to get pissed. It wasn't that I was getting a lot of mail from Sony Pictures, it was that they were blatantly sending me this mail against my wishes when I'd been in contact with them through their preferred methods to stop it.

So I started my own little Twitter campaign. (If you've been reading my Twitter updates here, they had the #sonyspams tag applied to them.)

After a couple of days of that. I got contacted by another Twitter user who seemed to know something about what was going on. We eventually connected and I sent that person the address I was trying to unsubscribe. I also did some digging on my own.

The thing that appears to have helped was digging into Sony Pictures' privacy policy, which states, in part,
If you opt in to receive e-mail from us, you can always opt out of future marketing messages by following the directions in each message to "unsubscribe."
It also included an address to contact with any questions or problems regarding the policy.

The mail I sent to that address was replied to today by the account of a Vice President of Operations. They promise to take my address off their list and to see if this is a problem that affects others.

Time will tell if that actually happens, but the win for me is having a direct email contact to a person (whether it's actually the VP or not) within the organization if the problem continues. Now I feel like someone is taking care of me as a customer instead of just ignoring me.

*I encountered the same problem with a mailing from Apple's new iTunes music announcement list today. We'll see how long it takes to get that one resolved.

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