Some of you may know, I had twins a while back. Anyone who has kids can tell you that you end up on mailing lists for all things baby very quickly. I get mail from companies I have no interest in doing business with, but birth records are public so there you are.
Add to that, stores such as Destination Maternity sell your contact information to other businesses. I suspect this is how Enfamil, a formula manufacturer owned by Mead Johnson & Company, LLC, got a hold of my email address.
From here, marketing hijinks ensue.
I’ve had no interest in Enfamil. I’ve primarily breastfed my babies. On the few occasions where I couldn’t keep up with demand, we used Earth’s Best formula.
Yet I found myself regularly getting emails from Enfamil.
And continued to get them.
When I contacted Enfamil, I was told I had to update my contact information in my profile.
Wha??? What profile? I never used the site!
Needless to say, I was irked. But curious too. So I followed the link and took a look. Here is what I saw. (You can click each image to enlarge it.)
First, they had assigned a key to my email address. I had to put in my zip code to get into to get into the account. (Good thing they had the correct zip code!)
That’s right. They wanted me to GIVE THEM my personal information! As you can see, I began giving them what I felt like in the form.
And again, since these were required fields, I gave them what I felt like giving them: misinformation.
Ok, so either their form didn’t work or they already had my info and decided what I had given them was wrong.
And again, the system refused to process the form.
After the snafu, I sent this:
I’m not jumping through hoops to cancel a subscription I never wanted. I’m certainly not giving information about myself just to stop mailings to myself. I can’t even get the form to work even giving incorrect info so I can unsubscribe. This is absolutely the worst unsubscribe form I’ve ever seen.
Just pull me from the database entirely. Please remove all information tied to this email address.
And because I was irked, I went to Spamcop and reported them as spammers. We can also note that I never got any response from Enfamil beyond the initial email telling me to go to my profile.
So for those of you that are reading this and are confused, where did Enfamil go wrong?
- They bought a mailing list. This is a no-no. Even if the business you buy it from claims it is an opt-in list, the fact that you did not obtain the email directly from the owner makes it very definitely not opt-in.
- They made unsubscribing complicated. This should never be the case.
- Their unsubscribe form didn’t even seem to work. Your form should actually work. Test it after you create it!
- They tried to collect information from someone who was trying to get away from them.
- Worst of all, they insisted on collecting information about people’s kids, something most parents get very touchy about.
So take a page from Enfamil. As I said in a prior post on spam and email marketing, never ever buy an email list. Its fast money, sure. But you’re still a spammer and you’re looking at a world of trouble to deal with when you are caught. It’s not a good plan if you want to be in business long-term.
Always make unsubscribing easy. The fewer clicks, the better. It should never be a headache and it certainly should not be this invasive.
Enfamil has guaranteed I will never, ever have anything to do with their products. And a step further, I’ll be looking for anything made by Mead Johnson and just doing my best to avoid buying their products.
As I said: if Mead Johnson and Enfamil were my clients, they would have been banned from my servers for this behavior.