Thursday, September 04, 2008

How To Handle Friends Who Send SPAM

I enjoy it when readers of my blog ask me questions (see: It is a great way for me to understand what topics are important to people, and allows me to create some unique blog posts.

I received the following email today:

Thom- Today I got a electronic newsletter from someone I know. Clearly they added me to their list. It was one of those Constant Contact things -- something you need opt in for although I did not opt in. I dislike this person. He's married to a childhood friend of mine and he is a TAKER. I am not his target audience although I could certainly refer people to him. But I never would because he is flighty. That being said, how do I get off his list? I think the answer is that I can't but I'd love to get some advice from someone as in the know as you!

Wow, that is a tough one since you have a life-long relationship with the person's wife. We all know "takers" and those whom are part of our life, but whom we do not respect in a business environment. While this is annoying, in the end you want to be respectful. I don't think you can just tell him to "buzz-off", so in my opinion you have three choices:

1. Just stay on his list and delete his newsletter when it hits your in-box. While we all get a lot of junk email, and spam drives us crazy, in the end, hitting "DELETE" only takes a moment. I am sure you are afraid if you unsubscribe it will make for awkward moments when you have to see him at a friendly BBQ.

2. Set up an extra email address where you receive junk mail and then inform him that you are unsubscribing, but will sign up under this other email account, as this is where you get all of your newsletters, list-serves, etc... (actually this is a good idea, anyway. Having an address for all your subscriptions and other types of junk mail keeps it off your day to day screen). Make it clear this is how you manage your inbox, and allows you to focus on things like newsletters when you have the time to devote to them.

3. Send him an email telling him you appreciated receiving his newsletter and praise an article or link that you found valuable (there should be SOMETHING!). Then let him know that you will be unsubscribing. Inform him that you hope he will not be offended, but that you know that you will not have the time to be a faithful reader of yet another piece of email, and that to just hit "DELETE" would make you feel bad because of your personal friendship. If you approach it in a positive and friendly manner, he should just accept your actions with little or no negative reaction. If he is really a jerk, then who cares anyway. If he is that petty then he will soon by annoyed by someone else anyway.

Good luck, and let me know what you end up doing.

Any other readers have suggestions? Leave a comment.



Leslie M said...

This is a really nice post, Thom. Relevant. We've all been in this position at one time or another. Thanks!

Katie Konrath said...

You could also set-up a filter to send his newsletters directly to the trash bin. Then you don't have to delete them every month.