Blog Herald gets it wrong on spam

I like The Blog Herald. I really, really do.  But it has got it badly wrong this time. It’s claiming that an email sent by Eric Olsen at FeedBurner is spam. Why? Get real.

Spam is the rubbish about unwanted pharmaceuticals, knock-off software and disgusting websites. An unsolicited email about a service in my sphere of interest is legitimate direct marketing.

Despite the wonders of blogs, RSS, social media and the whole Web 2.0 thing you still need direct marketing. It’s good that a new company with an interesting product tries to spread the word. I’ve spoken to bloggers who’ve never heard of FeedBurner and would have been interested to receive news about this potentially useful service.

Aaron Wall at Threadwatch gives the game away when he says "I can’t imagine any tech savvy person who has been on the web more than 3
months calling a to whom it may concern marketing email like that anything but
email spam".

The key phrase for me is "tech savvy". Sorry guys but the internet, the web, blogs etc are no longer the private domain of the "tech savvy". Lots of bloggers and every day people wouldn’t call it email spam. They would think it interesting.

Thinking that the world has to pander to the "tech savvy" is simply pretentious bull.

I’m not saying that FeedBurner’s email is a brilliant piece of direct marketing. It isn’t. There are lots of things they could do better. The "To whom it may concern" is bad, a personal name it always better, but sometimes in direct marketing it can be the only realistic option (although they should have sounded a bit less formal). They didn’t blast it to a random list (which would have been spam) but to "high-trafficked blogs" – people to whom it was relevant.

In the real world of small budgets and tight deadlines you can’t do everything as well as you want to. Sometimes it just has to be good enough.