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28 Oct 2013

The DMA sends e-mail that's memorable, but not in a good way Email

The Direct Marketing Organization (DMA) is the trade association for companies that advertise by paper junk mail. They were the driving force behind the weak opt-out CAN SPAM act, which kept a much stronger California law from going into effect. For a while about a decade ago it sponsored a useless do-not-spam database which was supposed to solve the spam problem. But yesterday, the DMA reminded us how well they really understand e-mail marketing.

They sent a large spam run through ESP Yesmail to the cruddiest spam list I have seen in a very long time. It was an ad for their Career Center, whatever that is. (Click on the small picture to see a larger version.)

Each spam contained this disclaimer:

DMA does not sell or rent your email address to any third parties. You received this email message at [address] due to your membership, participation, or interest in DMA.

I don't know whether the first sentence is true, but the second is totally, laughably false. They spammed friends' tagged addresses bought from magazines. They spammed dozens of people who reported the mail to the Spamcop anti-spam service. They spammed the head of the Spamhaus Project (see SBL202216.)

They even spammed two addresses in my domain that had never gotten any mail before from anyone, ever. They just made them up. I've seen invented addresses like these in spam for fake watches, fake pharmacies, and the like, but I can't remember the last time a "legitimate" organization hit them. To put it mildly, whoever bought the lists didn't do much due diligence about what they were buying.

This campaign was so inept that I'd suspect someone had done it as a prank to embarass them, except that it had Yesmail SPF and DKIM signatures, and the images in the spam are hosted on the DMA's own web server.

Needless to say, this has not made them many new friends, nor has it enhanced their reputation as marketing experts. Yesmail, who do not have a great reputation in the mail community, have said that they are cleaning up their practices. I'll be most interested to hear what they say about this.

  posted at: 10:34 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
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