Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Groupon's Missing "Do Not Contact" List

Remember when Six Degrees, Facebook and Plaxo started, and for the next few months you got your inbox bombarded with a gazillion requests from various "friends" who were sure you wanted to subscribe, or join, or whatever?
Well, times have changed, and there are laws against emails like that. Usually I just hand it over to Unsubscribe.com, which is brilliant. But last week it couldn't handle an email from a friend who thought I'd like to join the South African version of Groupon, called MyCityDeal.co.za. The site sending the email had no "opt out" or "unsubscribe" link!
Already that's a violation of the ECT Act and the new Consumer Protection Act, because companies engaged in electronic marketing have to provide the facility for a user to tell them that they don't wish to receive marketing messages, i.e. a "Do Not Contact" list. So I went to their web site and told them that I wished to be placed on their Do Not Contact List. They wrote back and said they had tried to "unsubscribe" me but I wasn't subscribed. DUH.
Spot the difference: If I was already a subscriber then I could unsubscribe, but I'm not a subscriber, so I can't, and I can't stop them from sending me invitations to join. Does that mean I have to join and then unsubscribe so they don't break the law? Weird.

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