Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Carve your name on hearts and not marble." C.H. Spurgeon

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up." Babe Ruth

"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." Bill Gates

Today's image: Zicatela #2 by konaboy. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Is E-Mail Dead?

Kids will kill email and we should thank them: Not to get into a rant here but email is increasingly a waste of bandwidth. The filters on the work account and the personal gmail are about 99% effective. Still hundreds of emails a day pour into the spam and junk folders, thousands a week. The contact me utility on this blog (i-name, works great. Hate to moderate blog comments here but there is no other way to keep the conversation going (i.e., free of other issues including potential legal). However, that's not the problem.

The problems are with the folks that opt me (and you) into their spam without prior notice. The trouble begins with people we white list taking advantage of their status. The really big issues here are respect, trust and attention.

Exhibit A: Attend one conference one time and, it seems, there is no way to avoid being signed up for notices of everything else that outfit might have on offer. I go out of my way to opt out of everything at the beginning and still have to opt out at least a couple of times again before it stops. Buy anything online and nine times out of ten you're opted in to some kind of sales or up-selling campaign (in the least some data base building thinly disguised as a satisfaction survey). Enough!

Exhibit B: Vendors that obtain my work email via some one-off business contact and then sign me up for their newsletters or other stuff that I never requested. Fired one host last year for constantly sending us emails. The flood of noise about server stats being available, free online SEO training, upgrades to their plant, etc. , a waste of our time. We emailed, called and snail mailed the host requesting they end any and all communication not strictly related to support or billing matters. They told us we were the only client to complain and we were in their system, nothing they could do to stop those interesting "client updates and notices." After we fired them and moved our account we continued to get their dear client emails for another three months. Enough!

One guy (known for decades) is now, out of the blue, sending me a Dear Colleague email with PDF attachment each month. First, to address me as a colleague is generous at best (especially when your purpose is to sell me or my clients your wares and we ain't done anything close to biz in years). Second, the communication has no value to me. In this case the PDF contains a rehash of yesterday's news. The only news here is the PDF was never requested. Start a blog, launch a feed, understand that unsolicited email newsletters are, in a word, rude (btw, attachments are so...ghetto). Enough!

The Golden Rule of TOS - Don't be a weasel: Got no respect for those that hide behind the twenty-six or whatever page TOS. Weasel be thy name! You know the weasel games, the big font gives while the tiny font taketh away, the opt-out is ever the pref (they already checked the most popular options for you, you know, as a convenience). We can handle disclosure. What we can't handle is straight up deception. I'll do a custom install, thank you very much. Too often your "recommended" install silently favors you and others you are in bidness with. Cool but you gotta let me know prior to staking a third party claim to my hard drive or browser. Deal me in, please, or else.

We have a manners issue at work here. Net etiquette. One more example. Just because I posted a comment on your blog once (giving you my email in a required field) does not mean I agreed to have you send me an email of every single post you put up. Your three times a day email blast only serves to confirm the notion that you have nothing of any real importance to say or to share. Enough!

As I write this my personal and work accounts are filled with hundreds of unread emails. The majority of those will - most likely - be a complete waste of time. Enough!

Please, before you email me with the suggestion to set up other email accounts to manage this situation, I'm not interested in what is, in net effect, a work around. A creative director friend has ten email accounts and I get that thought on any such strategy is include me out. Perhaps it's time to start another email hall of shame wherein we post the names and email addresses of repeat offenders. Better, let's celebrate the guys and dolls that do get it, the ones that are getting it right!

Chad Lorenz has written a solid piece about this stuff over at Slate: The Death of E-Mail, you may find it here. Reacts include uber-cool photog Thomas Hawk, read his post Email, 1961 - 2007 R.I.P...Thank God here. Kudos to Chad, Thomas and thanks to the kids for killing email. All that's left now is for the geezers and corporate America to pay the price and be disadvantaged by this mess. Is email dead? Nawh, just in an early stage of being left behind by those living closest to the future.

Bonus: Grease

Congrats & cheers: The gang at Mixx up and running in beta (Sujoy Singha weighs in Five Reasons: Why I Love Mixx).