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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Idiomatic: MLB.com: Ignoring Requests for Removal from Email List

They just can’t get out of that bucket of sassy!

A few months ago I purchased Giants tickets through MLB.com to take my mom, nephew and boyfriend to a game. It was the first time I’d personally purchased tickets to a Giants game, so understandable that I would now be on their email list. Right away I started receiving emails from MLB.com. I like baseball, but not enough to want emails about it, so I scrolled to the bottom of the email and clicked to unsubscribe. A confirmation page came up confirming that I had indeed unsubscribed. But apparently, it didn’t take on their end.

For three months now I have been receiving emails from MLB.com and have now tried to unsubscribe about 5 times. Each time receiving the confirmation that it went through. Yesterday I received yet another email from them and decided to yell about it. I tweeted about this annoyance and even tweeted directly to @mlb to ask to be removed from their list. I also took the time to express my frustration on Facebook and sent an email directly to the website support address for MLB.com.

I did not receive any response from @MLB on Twitter, but I did get this generic email response. Generic, but at least I’m off the list now, right?

...Yeah, right! Today I received another MLB.com email. Marketers, if you are in a position where you do email marketing, please make sure you never let this happen to one of your customers. And to MLB.com, what do I have to do to stop receiving your emails?

Repoz Posted: September 26, 2009 at 05:08 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, media, special topics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Damon Rutherford Posted: September 26, 2009 at 05:40 AM (#3333217)
This is why you should use an alternate, junk e-mail address for online ordering, membership (in some cases), etc.
   2. Jeff K. Posted: September 26, 2009 at 06:04 AM (#3333222)
No, this is why you should use SpamGourmet. I've been using it going on 9 years now, and last week I logged in for the first time since the first GW Bush administration. It's the only service of its kind that I know of, even now. From the home page:

You can give out self-destructing disposable email addresses whenever you want. The disposable addresses are like:

someword.x.user@spamgourmet.com

where someword is a word you have never used before, x (optional) is the number of email messages you want to receive at this address (up to 20, and the number 3 will be used if you leave it out), and user is your username.

For example, if your user name is "spamcowboy", and BigCorp wants you to give them your email address (on the web, on the phone, at a store - it doesn't matter), instead of giving them your protected address, give them this one:

frombigcorp.3.spamcowboy@spamgourmet.com
(and frombigcorp.spamcowboy@spamgourmet.com will work the same way)

This disposable email address will be created here the first time BigCorp uses it (you don't have to do anything to create it), and you'll receive at most 3 messages, forwarded to your protected address. The rest will be indelicately consumed.


Let's see: Your message stats: 481 forwarded, 41,925 eaten. You have 176 disposable address(es). (forwarded and deleted count started 2002-11-05)

word       max count     remaining     sent     deleted     created (UTC)       full address            
tt         10              0            10      16958       2005
-05-05 21:12     tt.10.jeffk22@spamgourmet.com 


That's some online ticket broker. That's obscene.
   3. Jeff K. Posted: September 26, 2009 at 06:11 AM (#3333226)
And another good thing (actually the reason I started using it) is that you can see exactly who sells your e-mail address. Almost nobody anymore, but I bought something on CrateandBarrel.com (wedding present) in March of last year. cratebarr.6.jeffk22 has gotten 174 emails, most not from Crate and Barrel. So a big #### you to them. How dreadfully cheesy.
   4. God Posted: September 26, 2009 at 06:20 AM (#3333228)
I buy tickets on MLB.com all the time, have purchased apparel in their online shop, and have been a subscriber to MLB.tv for several years now, and not once have I ever gotten a piece of spam from MLB. They do give you the opportunity to opt out to begin with. Sounds like this person didn't do it.
   5. Zipperholes Posted: September 26, 2009 at 06:26 AM (#3333231)
Jeff - Wow. Thank you.

Is there a way to set up an actual account to email from? I'm trying to buy something on CL and would like to find out who's selling my address.
   6. The Well-Tempered Javier Vasquez (loungehead) Posted: September 26, 2009 at 06:59 AM (#3333241)
If you use gmail, you can put characters following a + in your name. For instance, gmailuser+whoissellingmyaddress@gmail.com. Stuff following the + will be ignored, so you can tailor it to the place you submit your name to and find out who's making money from your address. It's handy for filters, too.
   7. Astro Logical Sign Stealer Posted: September 26, 2009 at 07:07 AM (#3333244)
ot once have I ever gotten a piece of spam

Yeah, but you're, you know, God
   8. Zipperholes Posted: September 26, 2009 at 07:08 AM (#3333245)
If you use gmail, you can put characters following a + in your name. For instance, gmailuser+whoissellingmyaddress@gmail.com. Stuff following the + will be ignored, so you can tailor it to the place you submit your name to and find out who's making money from your address. It's handy for filters, too.

Thanks. How would this work if I'm the one sending the first email though (eg, emailing an anonymous CL address)?
   9. The Well-Tempered Javier Vasquez (loungehead) Posted: September 26, 2009 at 07:17 AM (#3333247)
Depends on how you're doing it. If you're sending through gmail's web interface, I don't know if it's possible. If you're filling out a form somewhere on the web, just use the +whatever in the email address you give it. If you're using an email client such as outlook or lotus, you should be able to specify a "reply to" address and use your modified address there.
   10. Zipperholes Posted: September 26, 2009 at 07:50 AM (#3333250)
Ok, thanks.
   11. Jeff K. Posted: September 26, 2009 at 08:33 AM (#3333253)
Is there a way to set up an actual account to email from? I'm trying to buy something on CL and would like to find out who's selling my address.

If you go to the site and login, there's a little javascript box and a dropdown that lets you send an email through SG's server. This means that if at some point in the future you need to pretend like that address is real by mailing from it, it takes about two seconds.

The problem with that Gmail implementation is that it's pretty blatantly obvious what your actual address is. And of course it doesn't prevent them from sending mail by dying. Sure, if someone looked at it when I give out a SG address, they could figure out how to auto-create their own and try to spam me. But all I have to do is change my username at SG, which takes four seconds. Not change my email address.

SG is the greatest thing on the web that's been around forever and basically has zero name recognition. Take something like Spybot, which was groundbreakingly unique when it first popped up. Take away 99.8% of the userbase that it ended up with after word starting getting out, and have it not turn into exactly what it was made to replace, a bloated piece of ####. Keep it lean, mean, single-purpose and not so much as a web site change in my 9 years (as they say, if it's working right, you're likely to never visit the site again.)
   12. Jeff K. Posted: September 26, 2009 at 08:34 AM (#3333254)
Yeah, but you're, you know, God

####, only God would need as much Viagra as gets spammed to the average person every day.
   13. The Well-Tempered Javier Vasquez (loungehead) Posted: September 26, 2009 at 09:14 AM (#3333259)
The problem with that Gmail implementation is that it's pretty blatantly obvious what your actual address is.


Granted. It's not a perfect solution, by any means, but I'll wager that most email addresses that are sold are never actually seen by the spammer. It wouldn't be difficult to set up a script to override that sort of thing either, of course, but it is, at least, an option that could help.
   14. Zipperholes Posted: September 26, 2009 at 09:17 AM (#3333260)
If you go to the site and login, there's a little javascript box and a dropdown that lets you send an email through SG's server. This means that if at some point in the future you need to pretend like that address is real by mailing from it, it takes about two seconds.

Ok, I'm trying to figure that out now. So I can create a disposable SG address specifically for use as a "from" account, then send an email from my Gmail to it, and it will be forwarded to the recipient? I wonder if there's a way to do this without having to log into the website and enter the distinct recipient's address every time.
   15. Jeff K. Posted: September 26, 2009 at 11:02 AM (#3333263)
Wait a minute. What are you trying to do?

<Clippy>

It seems like you're trying to send an email to someone and have them not see your real address.

</Clippy>

That's kind of an odd thing to want to do, but que sera, sera. The issue that you're seeing is that that tool was designed to solve a completely different problem. That's there for a case where you toss a fake email to a website, and then when you get their email with your account info or whatever, they throw a changeup and want you to reply from that address. No, you just want to do the following:

1) Set up your account with SpamGourmet, forwarded to your Gmail
2) Go into Gmail (or wherever, you can have someone else do this, too) and just send an email to someidentifier.##.youraccountname@spamgourmet.com. Create a blank email, and address it with, say, myaddressisprivate.50.nyc@spamgourmet.com. Send it. That will create that fake address, let you get 50 emails to it, and then shut it off.
3) In Gmail (or in your client if someone else is reading this and trying to do it), your address will be in three places. The ironic (Raaaaaaaaiiiiiiaaaaaaannnnn) thing is that the very thing that is the root problem that allows for spam is going to help you here. You need to change it in two places, such that the information you're sending along with the email that basically says "This is me" is patently false. The place where you *do not* change it will be where it propagates the account info from. But there will be a field (usually labeled "email address") that will be right near where you type your name. Put that myaddressisprivate address in that field. Then find the one named "Reply-to" and switch it there.
4) You're set. If you want to use a new one in the future, just remember to email to that address first, and then switch it int these two places. Replies will get to you, and you should never have to go back to SG' site.
   16. Zipperholes Posted: September 26, 2009 at 11:45 AM (#3333268)
It seems like you're trying to send an email to someone and have them not see your real address.

I just want to be able to send emails to people on Craigslist from my gmail account (like trying to buy a stupid bike for $50, which I did this week) and not have to worry about my real address winding up on a spam list. I understand a 2nd email account accomplishes this, but I thought it would be cool to have the added benefit of finding out who's a spammer.

I'll try to digest the rest of your post - thanks for the help.
   17. Lassus Posted: September 26, 2009 at 01:50 PM (#3333285)
Are people with gmail really having that much of a spam problem? The filters there (and actually the filters on my Yahoo account as well, although gmail IS better) allow very little through - almost nothing. So much of nothing that the things being proposed and described above sound infinitely more annoying and troublesome than any spam I've received in the past five years.
   18. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 26, 2009 at 02:20 PM (#3333297)
Yahoo filters my spam pretty well though about a year ago something happened and I went from absolutely no spam ever to maybe 5-6 spams a day. Still, it's not that big a problem with Yahoo.

My work e-mail on the other hand I come in each morning to 100-150 spams.
   19. Rally Posted: September 26, 2009 at 02:23 PM (#3333298)
This is why you should use an alternate, junk e-mail address for online ordering, membership (in some cases), etc.


My brother does that, but he picked such a cool email to use for that purpose that I'd have to come up with something equally cool. SpammySosa@hisinternetprovider.com
   20. Jeff K. Posted: September 26, 2009 at 04:30 PM (#3333361)
I've had my Gmail account a little over 5 years now (a friend was in the initial distribution on 4/1/2004, and I got one of his 5 invitations some time that summer) and I can count on two hands the number of true spam emails that have made it to my inbox. The problem, of course, with what Crate and Barrel is doing is that they're not selling my address to Joe the C1/\L|5 salesman. The people they sell it to are going to send emails that don't pop the internal filters and likely won't run afoul of the community part, either.
   21. Zipperholes Posted: September 26, 2009 at 05:36 PM (#3333399)
Are people with gmail really having that much of a spam problem?

I never had any get through until very recently, after trying to buy a couple things on CL.
   22. jwb Posted: September 26, 2009 at 05:37 PM (#3333400)
Somebody from Austin is a spam gourmet authority. Imagine that.
   23. Jeff K. Posted: September 26, 2009 at 06:42 PM (#3333421)
I have lived here now...I guess 11 of the last 13 years (back in DFW for 03-04), and my last place was less than 500 yards from Zilker. I have never in my life heard of Spamarama.

And I like Spam!
   24. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: September 26, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3333519)
I just want to be able to send emails to people on Craigslist from my gmail account (like trying to buy a stupid bike for $50, which I did this week) and not have to worry about my real address winding up on a spam list.

I was under the impression that CL allows you to email sellers directly through their system such that your actual email address is never used. Anyway when I bought a bike on CL I just spent a few days looking for a cheap bikeseller that looked legit (as in 'wasn't going to rip me off' legit, not 'bikes aren't stolen' legit; all those guys are passing hot bikes) and had a phone number listed, then I just called him with someone else's phone and set up a meeting at a BART station.
   25. Zipperholes Posted: September 26, 2009 at 09:56 PM (#3333545)
I was under the impression that CL allows you to email sellers directly through their system such that your actual email address is never used.

Do they? I think you can send them a message in cases where they haven't provided any contact info, but otherwise I don't think you can, at least in the bike section.

Anyway when I bought a bike on CL I just spent a few days looking for a cheap bikeseller that looked legit (as in 'wasn't going to rip me off' legit, not 'bikes aren't stolen' legit; all those guys are passing hot bikes) and had a phone number listed, then I just called him with someone else's phone and set up a meeting at a BART station.

Yeah, I'm not so worried about getting ripped off as whether it's an actual seller. I just want a cheap bike ($50 or less - the worse looking, the better) b/c it will eventually get stolen. Apparently some people in the NY CL bike section are merely collecting email addresses (there's currently a huge posting war about this). I didn't have any spam in my gmail inbox until I tried to buy a bike and US Open tickets on CL recently.
   26. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: September 26, 2009 at 11:10 PM (#3333613)
I just want to be able to send emails to people on Craigslist from my gmail account (like trying to buy a stupid bike for $50, which I did this week) and not have to worry about my real address winding up on a spam list. I understand a 2nd email account accomplishes this, but I thought it would be cool to have the added benefit of finding out who's a spammer.

As others have mentioned, you can create temporary gmail addresses by adding "+something". To send from that address in Gmail, hit "Settings", then "Accounts and Import", then click on "Send mail from another address", then enter the temp address you want to use. When sending mail, there'll be a dropdown allowing you to pick which outgoing address to use.

It'd be nicer if it just let you create temp e-mail addresses as you're sending, rather than having to add them first via settings. But it still works pretty quickly.

The advantage of this over something like SpamGourmet is that you can still see the messages, and if you decide you don't want them (the address has been sold), you can set up a filter or something. This is useful even for mail you want -- if I use a specific email address for my fantasy football leagues, I can have those messages go to their own folder, for example.
   27. Jeff K. Posted: September 26, 2009 at 11:45 PM (#3333639)
With the tradeoff for that advantage being that you have to go set it up each time (as you note), which SG is specifically modeled to prevent. And even more importantly to me just on principle, this solution only works for Gmail and does not transfer. When I started using SG back in 2001, I was using Hotmail still. When I switched to Gmail, any vendor specific addresses that were still alive remained that way and all I had to do was tell SG to forward to the new address.
   28. Zipperholes Posted: September 27, 2009 at 01:27 AM (#3333663)
As others have mentioned, you can create temporary gmail addresses by adding "+something". To send from that address in Gmail, hit "Settings", then "Accounts and Import", then click on "Send mail from another address", then enter the temp address you want to use. When sending mail, there'll be a dropdown allowing you to pick which outgoing address to use.

Thanks - this works. The other option is sending emails from the SG website, which is slightly more work b/c you need to visit their site each time.
   29. Jeff K. Posted: September 27, 2009 at 02:38 AM (#3333680)
Yeah, if this is something common for you, sending from the account, SG is not the way to go.

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