Don Jones

Tech | Career | Musings

I got a charming letter from Ashleigh, a “Business Development Representative” at Dotmailer, today:

I hope you’re well. My name is Ashleigh and I’m reaching out to users of MailChimp like you to let them know about dotmailer, because it’s very likely you could spend the same amount with dotmailer as you do with MailChimp and have a far superior platform at your fingertips.

Some of the key reasons 4,500+ businesses like Vizio, DHL, Asana & Converse use dotmailer are:

– A drag and drop editor like no other, providing you complete control without the need for a designer
– Segmentation to the most granular level, so you’re always communicating to the right people
– An automation suite with zero limitations, so you only communicate at the right time
– A dedicated customer success team and 24/5 telephone support, to give you the assistance you need, exactly when you need it

We’re also always happy to put a commercial agreement together that works for both of us, so how about we have an initial call to find out more about your requirements to see how dotmailer can help?

Setting aside “how the heck did you get my email from MailChimp?” question, I felt this was a bit odd. On Dotmailer’s own Terms of Service, I found Section 4.7, which states in part that customers shall “…obtain where appropriate express, specific and informed consent when obtaining personal data from data subjects…,” which was not done, and “keep full records of its customers opt-in/opt-out choices regarding unsolicited emails,” which I’m pretty sure they didn’t.

More importantly, section 5.1 states in part, that customers shall not “…use the Services to send unsolicited or unauthorised advertising, promotional material…” which is exactly what Ashleigh has done, here.

Ashleigh also seems to have violated section 5.2, which states in part that customers shall “not use the Services to upload or send to records purchased, rented or acquired from a third party in any way,” which Ashleigh has clearly done.

Section 5.5 also says Ashleigh shouldn’t have done this, stating in part that customers will not “use the Service to send email communications advertising or promoting email lists or services supporting unsolicited bulk email.” Punishments for doing so include “…[having] their account disabled without notice and with immediate effect,” which hopefully will happen to Ashleigh, although I certainly hope this doesn’t result in her losing her employment, as I’m sure she didn’t come up with this unsolicited email on her own.

Would you do business with a company that self-violates its own terms of service? I won’t. When you, as an organization, can’t even follow the rules you yourself lay down, then you’re unreliable and untrustworthy.

And look, I get it – it’s hard to market to people. But I maintain that, if you can’t respectfully market to people, with their consent, then you don’t deserve anyone’s business. Clogging up my inbox is disrespectful, and it creates ill will for your entire industry – making it more difficult for legitimate communications to get through. Simply because you can scream your electronic message into my digital earhole doesn’t mean you should do such a thing.

For shame, Dotmailer.

6 thoughts on “It’s @DotMailer: Spamming You, Even if You Can’t Spam Others (hey, @tinktaylor)

  1. Justin says:

    Seems like you’re just being a dick to Ashleigh who is a salesperson that did research and thought you might be a great fit.

    1. Don Jones says:

      I’m not sure how I’m being a dick. Her company expressly prohibits the exact thing she was doing; seems like they shouldn’t be asking her do it it. I have a huge problem with spam, particularly when it comes form mail service companies, and particularly when it comes from a mail service company whose founder plays up how socially responsible and moral the company is. I think it’s worth pointing out when companies don’t behave according to their own rules. Obviously, your opinion differs, which is fine – I’ll note that I didn’t have to resort to name-calling to express mine. I’m also not making the assumption that Ashleigh did any kind of research or thought anything in particular about me, as you are. I’ve no evidence of that, and when it comes to unsolicited commercial email, I tend to assume the worst. It’s great that your an optimist who wants to give people the benefit of the doubt; I’m less occupied with Ashleigh per se, and much more occupied with the behavior of her company.

      1. brendan62269 says:

        But Ashleigh is probably ssooo hot…

  2. Dan says:

    I think the difference here is that those terms that you have referred to are relating to the Service of DotMailer. If you go on their Terms the word Service is defined to mean the software that DotMailer provides to their clients. It does not appear to include an individual working as a representative of the company. In fact, it is possible (but certainly not probable) that she contacted your office first and was told to “send an email” to make first contact. If that was the case then the email that Ashleigh sent would have indeed been consensual.

    1. Don Jones says:

      She didn’t; I don’t have an “office” under that email address that someone could contact. I _am_ the office. And I completely understand that the company’s terms of service don’t prevent the company itself from doing things it disallows of its customers. My greater point, which apparently didn’t come across well, is that I don’t understand why anyone would want to do business with a company that disallows a thing, but does that thing themselves. There’s a _reason_ for the terms of service, right? Theoretically, you’re not allowed to do certain things, because the company feels it’s wrong in some fashion. So why – whether allowed to or not – would that company do those things? Particularly in this case, where the company’s COO and founder makes a big deal of how responsible a mailer they are and whatnot, and joins or heads up all kinds of organizations who explicitly describe as a bad practice exactly what that email was?

      I do find it deeply interesting, though (and I’m being serious, not sarcastic, here) that so many folks take the side of the alleged spammer. I truthfully didn’t expect that, but it definitely makes me think there’s a lot more tolerance for the behavior in a global sense than I have myself.

      1. Dan says:

        Apologies – I was not taking sides. I am merely an innocent bystander. But I do have a question…

        If you were Ashleigh, what would your approach have been? / How would you solicit new business?

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