A few months ago, I wrote an article called Best Practices to Keep your Inbox, Voicemail and Mailbox Free of Solicitation to help [don]line readers rid their mailboxes and email boxes of spam. This week, I received another confirmation that those practices work well and wanted to share it with you.
My company, era//404, recently was featured in HOW Magazine‘s “Behind the Design” column and, as a result, I signed up to receive a subscription of the magazine to get an extra copy. They had a “free issue” promotion running, so, I thought, what was the harm? I checked their subscription for for any notice of “selling” addresses to sponsors. None were on the forms.
Low and behold, a few weeks later, I receive the above post card from Shutterstock.com and booklet from Veer.com, with a very interesting recipient mailing address. It looks as though subscribing to FW Publications guarantees you to receive unsolicited email, regardless of a request to opt-out:
As of today, I’ve reissued my request to stop receiving unsolicited mail and have them remove me from their sellable list of contacts by using their proper procedures for opting out of solicitations, however I feel quite certain that their “trusted partners” will act pretty similar to FW in ignoring it all together.
While the procedures I’d mentioned can do much for assisting in cutting down junk mail, some practices also help you to track down the original offender, such as the above instance of FW Publications selling my information regardless of my opt-out inquiry/request. The address block displays in OCR-visible Black-and-White that they’re guilty of this privacy infraction and, should legal action be necessary to have them arrest their poor practices, I’m sure it provides pretty rock-solid evidence of their wrong-doings. Sure, attorneys could argue that I use “HOW Magazine” as Address II for all my subscriptions, but I doubt a judge or magistrate would buy such a desperate excuse.
The outcome? As of right now, I’m still subscribed to their “trusted parties” mailing list and have yet to receive confirmation that I’ve been removed. I’m glad to see that they didn’t strip the Address II from my subscription form, however I’m leary that posts such as these will provoke such an underhanded action. And, finally, I feel pretty confident that this destroys any chances I have to be in another column in their publications, especially if the guilty party reads this. However, again, I ask myself: what harm can come from not allying myself with a company that doesn’t, as I and my own companies do, take customer privacy seriously?
Today I received the below email. Looks like I finally got through to them but they curiously neglected to mention snail-mailed solicitations…