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Stupid PR Watch: An Unfair Hack Job on Retailers

By Jun 20, 2006

And the award for most disingenuous publicity stunt goes to anti-spam company Reflexion Network Solutions for a press release the firm put out last week announcing “Spammy Awards” to “dishonor the worst of the worst.”

According to Reflexion, 96% of respondents to a survey said they spend up to one hour each day deleting spam. Huh? One hour each day? Who did Reflexion survey, people with baseball bats for arms? How could it possibly take an hour a day to deal with spam?

More likely, Reflexion didn’t bother to define what spam is to its survey subjects, which would account for the other unbelievable number in its release.

In any case, the company finished its press release by giving a runner-up “spammy award” to the retail industry for having sent spam to 96.7% of its respondents’ e-mail accounts. OK, there are some sloppy merchants out there, but for the most part, retailers not spamming. According to a report last summer by the Federal Trade Commission, 89% of online retailers honor opt-out requests. Honoring opt-out requests is not the typical behavior of a spammer.

Clearly, respondents to Reflexion’s survey think all commercial e-mail is spam, and Reflexion did nothing to straighten them out. That the average person thinks commercial e-mail is spam is neither offensive nor news, but using consumer ignorance as an opportunity to tar the retail industry as a bunch of spammers was an inappropriate cheap shot.