The CXO Clusterbomb

Do you find, like I do, that however rigorous you try to be in checking every “do not email me…” option, you still end up receiving corporate spam, marketing emails from every company you’ve done business with? I think they just ignore those boxes, add you to the marketing list anyway, and hope a few of you won’t bother unsubscribing.

What’s even worse is when you find yourself unable to unsubscribe. This often happens, ironically, because you took the most data-cautious route of all, and refused to sign up for an account. They added your address to the mailing list anyway, and now you’ve got no account to log in to, to change your subscription settings.

The solution to this is either to create an account (and they’ve got you after all, the conniving bastards) or contact customer services. But the latter option is often made deliberately difficult. There’s no email address on the website, or if there is it doesn’t work. The final resort is haemorrhaging cash on a telephone call to Bangalore in which you have to navigate a problem resolution flow chart, which you’re not allowed to see, and which is only described to you indirectly via an intermediary, who speaks the same language as you, but not a mutually intelligible dialect of it.

At the end of the phone call, in which you’ve been told to “click the unsubscribe link” and then explained that you’ve already done this 14 times and you’re still receiving emails, you just know that when the operator has told you they’ve unsubscribed you from the list themselves and the problem is now resolved, all they’ve done is click the same link, and you’ll be receiving more spam from them in less than 24 hours.

I’ve developed a new strategy to fight unsubscribable corporate marketing emails, although it could be applied more widely to get resolution on any customer service issue. I call it the CXO Clusterbomb.

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Like Twitter but shitter (Useless product innovations #2)

I wasn’t actually intending to write a follow-up to my Useless product innovations #1 post (the opening line, “And now for a new regular feature…” was a reference to the running joke in Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge where a new regular feature is introduced every week and never seen again). However, I have to speak out against Twitter’s new ‘innovation’, which is that it algorithmically picks tweets from people you don’t follow, which it thinks you might be interested in, and plonks them in your timeline.

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The evils of social networks?

One of the events contributing to the current media and political fury over the evils of social networks and internet trolls has been the death of Hannah Smith, a Leicester teenager who committed suicide after apparently being bullied on Ask.fm.

However, it has subsequently turned out that 98% of the anonymous bullying messages Hannah received may have been posted by herself using other accounts.

If true, this backs up my point in a previous article that blaming these phenomena on the social networks themselves is dangerously missing the point.

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You’re wrong about “internet trolls” – dangerously wrong

An item which I’ve been ranting about a lot over the past year or so, and which was scheduled for inclusion in Volume 18 of The Hate List, was the misappropriation of the internet terminology “troll” by the mainstream media. The rant seemed long enough to spin off into its own post on the new tombell.net blog.

Over the past few years, we’ve heard a lot from newspapers and the like about the growing menace of “internet trolls”: nasty, ignorant cyber-bullies who hide behind the safety of their computer screens and hurl abuse and harassment at politicians, celebrities and ordinary innocent people unfortunate enough to step into their sights.

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