I watched Seth Godin’s fascinating talk “This is broken” from Gel 2006 which I feature below. This got me thinking about what is broken. And one thing that seems broken is receiving mailings you do not want.
I get so many mailings that I do not want. I try to contact them to stop and sometimes they do but more often they don’t which just discourages me from ever trying. Recently I asked AT&T U-Verse to stop but they won’t. And their mailings are huge glossy color booklets that just scream “I am going to destroy the environment in the hope that you will subscribe to my service.”
What is broken is that when these companies do this my opinion of them degrades. I am less apt to want to use their service and enter into a professional relationship with them.
What I think is even more broken is how charities automatically put you on their mailing list if you donate. When I donate to a charity they immediately put me on a mailing list. I then have to call them to tell them to take me off the mailing list. Now whenever I donate to a charity I always put a note saying “Please do not put me on your mailing list.”
What was more annoying was that Ji Seon once bought a church survey and that vendor immediately sold her contact information to some Christian mailing list. Now we get mailings from all sorts of Christian vendors hawking the widest arrangement of products and we have no idea how to get off this mailing list.
I understand why all these companies and charities automatically put people on mailing lists. But this short-term thinking, that is seeking sales and donations as wide as possible, inevitably hurts the long-term relationship.
I think companies should consider sending no more than one mailing to someone who has not explicitly requested it. I think all mailings should have a section on the back that very clearly explains how to get off the mailing list. I think if a company has a website it should have a page on the website for unsubscribing from mailing lists.
I think it’d be nice if I could create a website to manage all of this.
Seth was right, it’s broken.