Several weeks ago, I attended the Washington Bridal Showcase in Bethesda, MD. I wasn’t expecting to find vendors I would use, but I wanted to see who was out there and who to stay away from. I knew the bridal show organizers would give out my email address to vendors, so I created an email address specifically for wedding email. Over the past few weeks, I’ve received about 50 advertising messages from vendors. Nothing personalized… no surprise there. However, what surprised me was the number of vendors complying with the CAN-SPAM Act. It was easy to unsubscribe… most of them used companies like Constant Contact to manage their mailing lists.
To those vendors properly managing their mailing list: I applaud you. I may not require your services, or perhaps you aren’t my style, but I definitely respect you and would refer someone to you.

Unfortunately, there were other vendors who were not so considerate.

There is one photobooth vendor who sends an email containing a subject line and a jpg attachment of an ad flyer. No ad copy in the body. No contact information in the body. No unsubscribe information in the body. I have received 2 emails from the company since the bridal show on 01/21/07. I sent a polite unsubscribe request to the company, so hopefully, I won’t be receiving any more email from them.

The most egregious vendor has been Elan Artists. At the Washington Bridal Showcase, they were handing out multimedia CDs and they have a polished website. They don’t have the excuse of being a small company that doesn’t have an understanding of technology. Their marketing team should know better.
Here are the reasons why they ruffle my feathers.
1. They mail out HTML advertisements with no unsubscribe information.

2. The return path is different than from line that is displayed. These messages were sent by “Michael @ Elan Artists” (pr@elanartists.com). However, when you respond to send a polite unsubscribe email back to “Michael @ Elan Artists”, the email is sent off to elaninfo@elanartists.com. Both elaninfo@elanartists.com and pr@elanartists.com may be reviewed by the same person, but you never know, marketing folk don’t always handle sales and information requests.

3. I had to call their office to get off of the Elan Artists mailing list. I sent a polite unsubscribe email to both elaninfo and pr@elanartists.com, and I still received additional email. I will concede that Elan Artists may not have had an opportunity to process my unsubscribe request before they sent out the next mailing. But, to be honest, I was tired of seeing their emails pop in my inbox. I received six marketing email messages from Elan Artists from January 23rd – February 1st, three of which advertised their photodocumentary photographers back to back on 1/26, 1/29 and 1/30. I am open to an initial email thanking me for stopping by their booth and generally advertising their services, but I don’t need their services crammed down my throat.
I am definitely not considering any Elan Artist service for my wedding. If they aren’t going to pay attention to my requests as a potential client, how can I trust that they will respect my requests as a client?

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