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:: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 ::


This is about how people may end up harming themselves due to spam.

Long time ago, I had purchased some VCDs at rediff, and hence had registered with them. And hence they had my email id. A month or so ago, I received an email from them about some improvements they have done in their shopping site, blah blahs, and info and prices on some of the goods they have for sale on their site. Since this was not a regular mail, I just ignored the mail, hoping that it never happens again. Today, I found one more email from them and decided it is time to hit the unsubscribe button. As usual, I scroll to the bottom of the html page in the mail looking for the unsubscribe button and found the message below:

You have received this mail from rediff.com because you indicated that you would like to receive special offers. If you do not wish to receive any more of such offers, click on the 'preferences' link on the left hand side of this page. Go to 'interests' section deselect the topic on which you do not wish to receive mails from us.

A couple of points to note:

  • Now, I don't think I am foolish enough to have subscribed to some stupid newsletter from a shopping site. Besides, while registering, I am usually alert to un-tick any pre-ticked newsletters, as I am used to this dirty practice followed by a lot of websites. So it basically means I have been added to a list without my consent, and then it is blamed on me for subscribing.

  • But let's give them a chance, and let me assume that it was my ignorence. So I just have to unsubscribe, by going to the "'preferences' link on the left hand side of the page" and I will be relieved. But it so turned out the page neither has a left hand side, nor any preferences link!!!! Just to make sure I did not miss anything, I even ran a search, in vain. Now, this is really not acceptable.

By this time, I had had enough. I filtered off rediff from my mailbox. And I have decided never to shop with rediff anymore, so I don't have any furthur trouble from them.

Finally, what did they achieve by sending some unsolicited email? First thing, they lost an existing customer. So far I had no problems or whatsoever with rediff shopping site, and would not mind buying from them if I happened to come across somthing interesting. But now, I am not going to be contributing anything to their coffers. Besides, since I have blocked them out, they can't reach me anymore even if they have something really important to say. And then they get some bad publicity here. So much for sending unsolicited emails.

It is high time retailers on the internet stop asking customers to register before buying something. That idea has already gone old fashioned. You can only loose customers by doing so, not gain them. If I am asked to fill up a long boring form just to buy a book or a VCD or some flowers, it is more likely that I'll go the next shop to make my purchase.

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