Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Funny Gun Story
I have a job that requires me to work in an arena where I am not entirely comfortable: mass emailings to our subscriber base. So, being a good little geek, I subscribe to a few email lists, read a few sites regularly, and try to do my job as well as I can. Which is why I got to read this hilarious story from DirectMag.com’s Ken Magill:
...[O]ne of my favorite stories involves gun stupidity. Back in the early 80s, three Air Force buddies and I were in the Arizona desert target shooting with a.357 magnum. One of us—I forget his name, now—decided his lime-green Datsun 1200 would look really cool with bullet holes in the driver’s door. So he fired five or six rounds into it.
Then he remembered he had forgotten to roll up the driver-door window before he shot.
It’s in the context of bad email behavior from Republicans and conservative mass emailings--and it’s behavior that I had noticed, too, so I hope some list managers are paying attention. He’s right about this:
If Republicans don’t clean up their sloppy e-mail practices, soon their messages will get blocked from reaching people’s inboxes altogether. And then even people who want to hear from them won’t be able to.
Yahoo, Hotmail, and some of the other online services are pretty aggressive in the way they handle mass emailings. Even though everyone on my list has given explicit permission for us to email them with offers and information, their email providers don’t much care. Dealing with email design and distribution is enough to give me holes in my stomach lining--I’m not kidding when I say that it’s one of the most stressful parts of my job although not because any single part of it is difficult. The reason is more complicated: if the mailing isn’t well received, if the data in a first import isn’t clean, if I don’t do my job well, my email lists can be locked, my service can ban me, and the things that I am trying to get in front of customer eyes may not be seen.
My job requires me to convince people to buy and use our services; those mailings are vital to me doing a good job. Protecting my lists from marauding salesmen, an owner that doesn’t necessarily understand all the issues involved, all of our client companies that want to piggyback on our lists, all the while fighting against the natural attrition that comes with long-term list use is enough to drive me crazy.
Indiscriminate sharing of email addresses through the conservative and libertarian mailing lists will ultimately hurt the cause of putting ideas in front of people. You can’t change minds if you can’t first engage those minds--and if your emails aren’t getting through, you haven’t got a shot.
So, again I say, I hope some list managers are paying attention.