You know, I’m pretty sensitive to marketers who contact me. I’m a marketer myself, and I’ve witnessed my fair share of bloggers cruelly publicizing naive errors on the part of PR and marketing folks. Everyone’s human, after all, and there are far more compelling things to write about.
Today, I’m making an exception.
Matchstick is a ‘word of mouth marketing company’ in Toronto (witness the beautiful, young, ethnically diverse people on their site). A few weeks ago I received two simultaneous emails from two separate people at Matchstick. They weren’t duplicates, but the gist was that they wanted to do some ‘research on blogs’ and had ‘a new tech gadget’ that they thought would appeal to bloggers.
Fair enough. Though this qualifies by Tim Bray’s definition as spam, I was ambivalent. While they didn’t demonstrate much familiarity with this site, they were honest about who they were and, after some enquiry, what they wanted.
I replied to both Matchstick reps in a single email, asking for some clarification and that they decide between themselves who wanted to talk to me. They both replied again, so I politely said ‘thanks but no thanks.’
A couple of weeks passed. In that time, I received two emails from other bloggers I know who were passing on Matchstick’s information. That wasn’t a problem. After all, I already knew these folks. I just mention it to say that they’re apparently pitching the blogosphere pretty hard.
Today I get two more emails from two different Matchstick reps asking the same thing again. This time the text they used was more or less identical.
So, that’s four emails from Matchstick from four different staff members all asking the same thing. And two of those messages came after I clearly expressed my disinterest in their offer.
Matchstick might want to invest in some CRM software, and learn how to use it.
I think they’ve qualified themselves as spammers, don’t you? I think their messages qualify as spam, don’t you?
I contacted Matchstick with my complaint, and had a pleasant conversation with their CEO, Patrick Thoburn. He was very apologetic, saying that they had made “a very gross error” (I’m quoting with his permission). In explaining the mistake, he said:
Believe it or not, we do have a system designed to prevent this kind of thing from happening and it’s broken down in your case. We’ve taken this incident this incident seriously, and because you contacted us we’re going to change some things.
That’s good to hear. I’m certainly not saying they shouldn’t be pitching bloggers–they should. They should just be doing it with a little more care.
UPDATE #2: Travis thinks we should chill out.
UPDATE #3: Jen is also unimpressed.
UPDATE #4: I see the mainstream media picked up the story.