Posts tagged “safe unsubscribe”

Keeping spam out of your brand?


I imagine many folks are familiar with the email newsletters from Constant Contact, that feature the SafeUnsubscribe logo above? I’ve received any number of newsletters sent via their service always from business or people I know. Their unsub mechanism has always seemed reliable, and I’ve felt good about the company as an alternative to other ways of sending mass-email that get flagged as spam, etc.

I was surprised, therefore, to get this:

An ad for some online pajama sales. With someone else’s name in the body of the ad (where my name presumably would be). I tried to unsub but the link didn’t work.

[Perhaps this was some sort of phishing scam, like those fake emails we receive from eBay, PayPal and every bank imaginable, asking us to log in and verify our accounts – those messages are clever fakes and don’t come from the companies they appear to come from].

I thought this was semi-legit and so I contacted the company about this messed up message they were sending out. Their less-than-helpful reply.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for contacting Constant Contact Customer Support.

We checked the account from which you received the campaign email and found that you have received a test email of one of the campaigns created in this account.

We understand that you tried to unsubscribe from this listing by clicking on the Unsubscribe link in the campaign but were unsuccessful.

Please be informed that certain features like “Unsubscribe” link do not function in the test email. If you wish to be removed from the mailing list please respond to the person who sent this campaign with your concern.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

If you have any further questions please send us a note.

Constant Contact Support

What? So they aren’t responsible for what is sent out? And send me off to someone else? As far as a test email, that’s absolute bunk. I received three more of the pajama ads, all from different From: addresses. Someone is spamming either with or without the consent of Constant Contact.

If it wasn’t from them at all, you’d think they would have identified that, rather than the ridiculous “test email” story.

I contacted their abuse address, which I should have done in the first place. This was a few wees ago, and they’ve completed ignored me.

Of course, bad customer service is always a bad reflection on your brand, but this company’s core brand seems to be that they are a trusted delivery vehicle for email – their stuff is screened, bonded, whatever, to be NOT spam. They’re used for spam, and they drop the ball, entirely.

How could anyone trust them, or in fact, permit them to send us email, if this is what we are letting ourselves in for. Maybe they are known widely as a spamhaus (as they are called) but I’d never been aware of it. I’m going to assume they are, however.

My second run-in with bad support around service abuse comes from LinkedIn, a social networking site. People connect with others they know; of course, what it means to know someone is up for interpretation and LinkedIn’s own version of what those links should represent has been ignored by many people. A few weeks ago someone appeared to be running amok and sending linking invitations to as many people as humanly possible. I received a direct invitation which I declined (this is not someone I knew at all), but saw them connecting with others I knew later that day.

The next day I received another connection attempt from the same person, this time through the “school colleague” feature of the system. At this point I was fed up; the system expects people to behave reasonably, this person wasn’t, and now I was getting repeated unwanted solicitations. I contacted LinkedIn about it:

Thank you for your email. We apologize for the experience you have had. LinkedIn is very concerned with member experience.

LinkedIn can assure you, LinkedIn was not the source of the spam you received. As stated in LinkedIn’s Privacy Policy:

“Your privacy is our top concern. We work hard to earn and keep your trust, so we adhere to the following principles to protect your privacy:

  • We will never rent or sell your personal information to third parties for marketing purposes
  • We will never share your contact information with another user, unless both of you choose to contact one another
  • Any sensitive information that you provide will be secured with all industry standard protocols and technology”
    • Would you please tell us what spam you received? Is it possible for you to forward copies of the emails (including full header information) so we may investigate the source of the emails?


      Loretta Thomas
      LinkedIn Customer Service

Of course, I described the situation clearly in my first message, but they obviously didn’t read that. I used the “spam” word and that clearly blinds support staff from reading the rest of the message. I sent in the message in question, and of course, have heard nothing weeks later.

Privacy is becoming a ridiculously heated topic now, and it’s intersting to see companies who are offering different forms of introduction/connection services fail to – when it’s right in front of them – protect the privacy and quality of communication that their members receive. All the while, of course, proclaiming how they are indeed doing so. It’s pathetic!

Update: July 12 – I hear back

This account has been cancelled for abuse. It was cancelled on 6/15/06.

Thank you,

Customer Compliance
Constant Contact


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