Feedburner Spams Bloggers

Filed as General on February 7, 2006 3:23 am

by Duncan

Interesting email today from Feedburner:

To Whom It May Concern:

I noticed that you are currently running some RSS feeds on your site. I am writing to suggest that you run those feeds through FeedBurner.com. We currently manage over 190,000 feeds for over 120,000 publishers; through FeedBurner, publishers get invaluable insight into their feed usage: how many subscribers they have, which items their subscribers are reading, and which items generate the most click-throughs. Our core service is free, though we do have some premium services if you’€™re interested in more detailed analytics.

If you decide to run your feeds through us you will not only gain a more friendly ‘€œsubscribe’€? page (see my feed at feeds.feedburner.com/thewannabevc) but you will also gain access to many other helpful additions that will add functionality to your feed and make your feed more accessible.

In addition to feed management services, we also offer feed monetization ‘€“ which gives publishers the ability to advertise in their feeds. With our growing list of publishers across a broad range of advertising channels, we have a number of very interesting ad campaigns running that might be appropriate for your feeds.

If you need any help setting up your feeds at feedburner.com or if you have any questions please feel free to ping me. Take care and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Eric Olson
Associate – Business Development
FeedBurner – http://www.feedburner.com
[email protected]
AIM/Skype: EricJohnOlson

Now the to whom it may concern rang alarm bells, and now I read Aaron Wall over at ThreadWatch received the exact same email as well. Looks like spam, smells like spam…is spam.

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  1. By Stuart Bruce posted on February 7, 2006 at 5:49 am
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    Looks like direct marketing, smells like direct marketing… is direct marketing.

    Please! Iin no way does FeedBurner’s email resemble spam. It’s simply an informative email sent to people who might reasonably be expected to be interested in its service. If you’re not it takes a split second to hit the delete key.

    Spam is the offensive websites and dubious substances that sometimes infests my inbox. It’s spam if it isn’t targeted.

    I’ve expanded more on this theme on my own blog.

  2. By Chris posted on February 7, 2006 at 11:04 am
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    Spoken like a true spammer, Stuart–I mean direct marketer…

    Spam is UBE: unsolicited, bulk email. This one qualifies as spam assuing that is wasn’t solicited (which is sounds like it wasn’t, otherwise why post about it?) and since it looks like Aaron got the same one, it is bulk.

  3. By Amanda Rush posted on February 7, 2006 at 11:17 am
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    Direct marketing is spam unless it’s specifically opted into.
    If Duncan didn’t opt in, it’s spam.
    I’d even be willing to suggest that it qualifies as spam if the opt-in/out process isn’t clearly defined in some way.
    Junk is junk, no matter where it comes from or how it gets to you.

  4. By Matt Shobe posted on February 7, 2006 at 12:07 pm
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    As our VP of Business Development Rick Klau posted here, http://www.stuartbruce.biz/2006/02/blog_herald_get.html, this wasn’t the best approach we could have taken, and we are sorry for any inconvenience or frustration this approach might have caused its recipients. We are reconsidering and tweaking various approaches to marketing our services, and appreciate the community’s feedback as it helps us know when we’re doing a good job or missing the mark.

  5. By Tank posted on February 7, 2006 at 12:49 pm
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    I don’t know if I would call it spam, it’s pretty close but from the sounds of it they’re using a dedicated list to send unsolicited mail rather than just blasting it out to everyone and their uncle.

    I’m not entirely sure that this is a good sign for feedburner to be giving out to the blogging world, could spell financial difficulty of they’re using direct marketing to increase their numbers rather than being a bit more subtle about it.

  6. By Hexxenn posted on February 7, 2006 at 1:16 pm
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    I find it strange that Feedburner would feel the need to spam people, considering they seem to be pretty well-known to bloggers.

  7. By Dick Costolo posted on February 7, 2006 at 1:27 pm
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    I’ll take matt’s comment one step further. We should never have sent that email to you. We pride ourselves on being very entrepreneurial at FeedBurner and we pride ourselves on being open, democratic, and human, by which I mean that we let everybody attack their projects and work in the manner they think best. Obviously, sending unsolicited email to a customer is not our style, and it won’t happen again. Great companies have a style and a culture that they own, but people working at the company can’t be expected to intuit the company culture, it has to be discussed and communicated and felt. That way, decisions about how to attack a problem can be “felt” without having long lists of do’s and don’ts, rules and regulations. This email you received highlights a lack of understanding of the company culture across the entire team. I take personal responsibility for that, and I’m on it.

  8. By Cary posted on February 7, 2006 at 3:38 pm
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    I personally think Dick’s explanation rings fairly true…sounds like a slip-up, and certainly not the end of the world – as long as they don’t do it again.

    I may be biased though, because about 6-months ago Dick helped me figure out why my FeedBurner feeds weren’t getting indexed at Technorati, in spite of the fact that it was a Technorati issue and not a FeedBurner issue (Technorati, of course, didn’t answer my e-mails.)

    Anyways, I feel I owe him one. Seems like an all around stand-up guy to me :)

  9. By Duncan Riley posted on February 7, 2006 at 8:11 pm
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    I think the difference to note here was the lack of personalisation. If I’d received a “Dear Duncan, love the Blog Herald, have you seen our company, we might me able to help” style email I would have accepted it as fair, marketing.

    As for Stuarts comment on his blog:
    “Spam is the rubbish about unwanted pharmaceuticals, knock-off software and disgusting websites. An unsolicited email about a service in my sphere of interest is legitimate direct marketing.”

    Wrong, spam is spam in any sphere. It was unsolicited, bulk sent and Feedster didn’t even try to disguise the fact. However I accpet that you guys have owed up to making a mistake, but attacking me for “getting it wrong” doesn’t really make the apology seem genuine now does it?

  10. By Cary posted on February 7, 2006 at 9:34 pm
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    Totally agree with you there, Duncan…I myself may be willing to look past it because of past experience, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t spam.

    I don’t think Stuart’s attempt to re-write the definition of “spam” is going to win him many friends ;)

  11. By Duncan Riley posted on February 7, 2006 at 10:25 pm
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    Apologies, Stuart Bruce isn’t with Feedster, apology accepted. I’ll leave Stuart’s little missive for another day :-)