The year was 2006.
Ten years ago.
Bear that in mind as we tell this story…
One of our beloved top clients (then, and to this day) at our sister company had a client (at the time), who we’ll call Unfortunate Case Study, or UCS, for purposes of this discussion
UCS was getting ready to do a book launch. It was going to be a big, industry-shaking, thought-provoking New York Times bestseller.
Well… lo and behold…
UCS Had Decided To Launch The Book By Spamming People
We quickly learned they had purchased a list of 50,000 names and e-mail addresses to send promotional e-mails to for the launch. Now, they were wondering if our firm could help them set things up so they could start blasting away (we don’t do that stuff anymore, but back then we did).
As a courtesy to our beloved client, we agreed to a courtesy conversation with UCS.
The conversation ended in us agreeing to waste time confirming what we already knew (again, as a courtesy to our beloved client) – we figured we’d be making a nice deposit in the favor bank, or at least getting great fodder for some future blog we would launch in 2016.
We spent maybe an hour contacting the “Big 5” e-mail marketing companies and three top webhosts so they could tell us, in writing, what we already knew:
No reputable e-mail marketing company would upload the list. No reputable webhost would let them run these e-mails through a local mail server.
As We Knew, It Was A Complete No-Go – And Then It Went Even Non-Further.
UCS was unhappy when we broke the news. The following are some highlights of the subsequent conversation (which we kept as brief as we could).
They stressed, in a tone that was both pleading and demanding, that this was their “one and only strategy” for launching the book.
Funny, though, they didn’t sound “stressed” about that statement, though they should have been in a panic – just more angry that nine different organizations (our firm, 5 email providers, three webhosts) in one day had the gall, or whatever, to tell UCS they weren’t allowed to spam people and wouldn’t help if UCS chose to do it anyway.
So we reiterated, “You saw the e-mails from the providers and the links to the policies on their websites, that we sent you. It’s just not possible. They won’t do it.”
(With this information, we were happy to avoid UCS attempting to start a verbal fistfight by us mentioning the part where we found his request distasteful and his approach offensive, and that we don’t help people spam other people.)
Well, For A Moment There Was Almost A Glimpse Of Light
One of the e-mail providers had suggested that UCS go back to the company that sold them the list and see if they offer a service where you broadcast UCS’s e-mails about the book through their servers. They’ve heard some of these companies do that (it’s a form of affiliate marketing that’s sort of “grey area” because of questions about who owns the consent).
UCS said “Well, a buddy of mine sold the list to me… he doesn’t have that setup… so I can’t.”
We politely ended the call, already mentally calculating the sheer enormity of the deposit we had just added to the favor bank with our beloved client, by telling UCS something like “We’ll take another look at this, and if we come up with anything, we’ll let you know.”
The tone and the message were very much like a first date ending in “I’ll call you and let you know” as a stand-in for “not on your life will I go out with you again”…
But UCS Wasn’t Done Pushing This Issue, Or Digging Their Hole
What we will reveal tomorrow will elucidate why, even if we told you UCS’s name, we’d bet our lunch money you’ve never heard of them and their book.
How they responded to the courtesy follow-up we just described will illustrate even more, why their book launch failed.