finding it funny

Last year I joined an organization through work to take advantage of some published materials that they make available. It turned out to not be as useful as I’d hoped so I let my membership lapse. Occasionally, I get an email from the organization asking me to consider coming back, or asking why I haven’t. I understand the need for them to send these emails, they make their money off of memberships. I just let them go to a special folder to be ignored and deleted later.

Yesterday, one email made it through the filter. No big deal, I deleted it. Someone else who also got this email decided that they were going to reply asking to be unsubscribed. However, turns out the email that gets replied to is a listserv set up to email every other person who was being solicited. After a few more emails from other strangers asking to be removed from the list, someone figured this out and sent one saying as much. But the unsubscribes have continued. Then someone else tried to be helpful:

Dear all, 

could you please just stop sending e-mail to “[LISTSERV]”?
I’m doing it now to ask you to stop doing this. If you don’t stop doing that, everyone else will keep receiving your messages as well.
And we’ll all end up in each other’s spam boxes, all thousands of us.
If you want to complain to [ORGANIZATION], send it to another address at [ORGANIZATION], not to “[LISTSERV]”.

Nice enough. But of course there were more unsubscribe requests and various other commentary about how stupid the organization was for setting things up this way etc. This made some people angry:

For Heavens sake, will you people take this into a forum or something!!! STOP REPLYING TO ALL! The biggest reason I didn’t renew is absolutely none of anyones business. I resent surveys of any sort as you’re simply using my time for free to help out your business.
I’ve had two screens of messages from an organization I don’t belong to. That is SPAM, harassment and a general pain in the ass.


This guy is clearly very important, because he sent another email after a few more people responded with unsubscribe requests:

I didn’t SUBSCRIBE to ANYTHING. That’s what makes it the definition of SPAM.
BTW, You don’t get the English language very well?? The entire point of the last post was LEAVE ME ALONE!

Clearly, he might think he’s important, but he doesn’t seem very smart. (Maybe he should review his English is all I’m saying.) So after some more emails, someone else tried to be helpful:

Enough already!

The fact that you joined [ORGANIZATION] in the first place shows that you are an intelligent member of the computing and technology world. Email and its use should not be foreign to you nor the use of professional etiquette.

Continual replies to this list will only keep informing ex members like yourselves that you want to be removed. If this was my organization I would not place any valid internal email addresses within this lapsed member list. If my assumptions are correct your replies are not even being viewed by anyone at [ORGANIZATION] and you are only wasting your time.
From a spammer’s point of view the more you continue to reply the more valid email addresses they can harvest.

Sorry for the continued spam but I thought some explanation might be in order.

Personally, I don’t know how it helps spammers harvest email addresses, but whatever… But of course people kept chatting a little and then this guy chimed in:

Having unsubscribed a number of times, I believe that the [ORGANIZATION] is now in breach of the CAN SPAM leglislaton so I believe that the next step is to report the [ORGANIZATION] to FTC, state attorney and Internet service provider for review.

And no one has said anything else (which makes me a little sad). Maybe there will be more later because I was enjoying the outrage.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

And just so everyone is clear, what we say here is not endorsed by either of our employers.