Abusing your database without their knowledge

In the Washington Post business section today, there was a story about how people are complaining to the FCC about their e-mail address being inproperly used in support opposition of the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger. These supposed e-mails were delivered to members of Congress and now the consumer database is pretty pissed.

Frankly, this is a really bad way. Sure, there’s a reason why you’ve asked your consumers for their e-mail address and other relevant information, but to use it in a deceptive manner is totally dishonest and truly hurts your credibility. Does this affect the whole “double opt-in” concept and violate CAN-SPAM? I don’t think it violates CAN-SPAM, but the whole opt-in process seems to have just gone out the window. A while back, I read an article online about being authentic and this is a major faux pas.

Showing that you care about your customers helps to build that rapport and when you violate their trust by not only using their e-mail information, but forging an e-mail that was supposedly penned by them, then you are really ruining your credibility in the eyes of the public. Nothing in your terms of use should allow you to abuse their trust and information. Yes, there are possibilities of having your e-mail sold, but frankly, doesn’t that amount to either spamming or opting in? Was this a situation where Sirius and XM couldn’t find a few dozen people from their enormous subscription list that would be willing to support this venture that they had to resign themselves to forging these e-mails? Their collective subscription ranges in the millions and you’re telling me that they can’t find several hundred or thousand people in support of their merger? Think about this, if their subscribers don’t want to offer their support, maybe the merger shouldn’t happen…

For a company to try their hardest to try and block this merger, their deceptive practices have really gone and ruined their chances.

2 responses to “Abusing your database without their knowledge”

  1. Ryan Avatar

    I just wanted to correct you on one thing – the people are being misrepresented as being AGAINST the XM-Sirius merger. Not for it.

    It’s the merger opponents – namely the NAB – who set this up to make it seem like there’s more people against the merger than there really are.

    Please read the Washington Post article again, it says something completely different than what you’re stating.


  2. kyeung Avatar

    Thank you Ryan…you are quite correct and I stand corrected. The article DOES say that the people are misrepresented as being AGAINST the merger. However, in my opinion, regardless of this situation, for a company to abuse an e-mail list of its subscribers, it would be a real dent on their credibility and violate the privacy of their customers.

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