Big retail names outed as spammers

27 September 2010


Some of the UK’s biggest retailers have been slammed as email spammers in a new report, with as more than half of online retailers criticised for fuffing up our inboxes with promotional shite that we neither want nor care about.

Spam Ratings, a UK organisation that exists to help stamp out widespread spamfoolery has named and shamed the Arcadia group (which includes Top Shop, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Top Man, Wallis and Evans) as the worst offenders. They said that if a user signed up Arcadia’s mailing list, they would go on to receive 394 emails in just six months.

Other names like PC World, B&Q and JD Sports were tagged as being retailers who sent out emails that had not been ‘explicitly requested’ by their customers. Additionally, Boots and British Airways were among 13 brands listed as having flouted good email practice guidelines by automatically opting in customers to receive emails from third parties.

This shit is unacceptable. We want to know when our spam is true spam. We want emails that promise “Amazing increase in thickness of your Penis” or as one recently boasted “cupcake's defeatism's currant”. Are you with us avid readers?

[IT Pro]

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TOPICS:   Scams   UK News   High Street News


  • PokeHerPete
    This is why I don't use email.
  • Andrew R.
    They're not necessarily spammers; if you've opted in to an email list, you've opted in. You haven't opted in to only receiving one email a month, you're in a vicious cycle where you'll be targetted based on your purchase or browsing history. That said, this is all a moot point anyway; look at the big UNSUBSCRIBE buttons at the bottom of your email; every legitimate email marketing company makes you have them!
  • PaulH
    I am the girth lord...
  • PaulH
    @Andrew Robinson Is correct - I seem to get a lot of emails from Tesco and eBuyer but I find it easier to just delete the email than go through the process of unsubcribing
  • Nick T.
    Best one I ever had was "Your own Chinese bride for $5000. Or two for £9500". True.
  • Fby
    Unsubscribing rarely works. I have an email addressvthat is very similar to someone elses and I get subscribed to all kinds o crap by accident and I can rarely get off the lists. (I had my address first)
  • Codify
    Google calls this "bacn" rather than spam - it's not illegitimate email, as you have agreed to sign up to their newsletter, and respect your opt-out when you unsubscribe, but it's still annoying.
  • Andrew R.
    I can't see a legitimate situation where unsubscribing doesn't work; let's get one thing straight, it's in ESP's best interests to handle unsubscribes in the best and quickest possible way. All the big companies rely on deliverability and IP reputation; they usually unsubscribe anyone instantly who doesn't want emails, as clicking 'This is Junk' or not getting a response rate over a period of months will harm their sender reputation, ergo deliverability, ergo bottom line. Fby - if you're receiving email from one company, I'd suggest emailing them asking them to add you to their blacklist/manually unsubscribe that particular address to ensure you don't receive mispelled emails. PaulH - surely it takes less effort to unsubscribe once in 10 seconds, rather than delete a marketing email that comes every few days/week? I do see where you're coming from though - a lot of people also click 'This is Junk' not realising this is classed as an abuse complaint and not just training your own personal filter. Can be a pain in the arse for legitimate email marketers who are emailing you in good faith/at your request and you simply can't be arsed receiving them anymore.
  • zleet
    If you do not wish to reunsubscribe to our mailing then please do untick the box marked no.
  • PaulH
    @Andrew Robinson It's the unsubscribe process that can that sometimes be a pain in the arse. Some emails will let you click the link and you'll be automatically taken off the mailing list. Others take you to a page where you have to enter your email address and say why your leaving it - I can never be bothered finding out which it'll be so I simply delete the email.
  • Stephen H.
    @PaulH In that case Paul, it's not a case of the unsubscribing process not working - more the fact the user can't be bothered. However, most legitimate email marketing companies (I work for one myself) will try and make the unsubscribing process as easy as possible (one click), because they would rather you unsubscribe than mark them as spam (marking them as spam effects their sending reputation e.g. the one complaints they receive, the less likely the email is going to get to the inbox). It's also important to state that any professional email marketing company will not accept clients on board who have bought in data - only data they have acquired by legal means.
  • Mark
    I'm on Ask's mailing list, today I received an email from Pizza Express on the same email address. I didn't give Ask permission to give my address to PE so this is spamming.
  • Fonzi
    Ever tried unsubscribing to Thorntons website? Not only are thier products crap it's simply impossible to unsubscribe with them. True spammers.
  • Internet T.
    This is why I never ever go on the internet
  • Andy D.
    @Mark, the email is still from Ask though ;)
  • Andrew R.
    @Mark I unsubscribed from IWOOT because of the same thing - sending me emails from The Hut "in partnership with IWOOT". @PaulH I see what you mean - never understand why companies do that unless it's communication preferences rather than a straight unsubscribe - proper infuriating. @Internet Turtle - the Internet is a dangerous place for turtles, I'm glad you steer well clear!
  • Ralph M.
    I think you have to click through a link to unsubscribe from Amazon, and when jumped through their log-in hoops - it still didn't stop spamming me! I wouldn't mind, but the offers are so rubbish, always related to a one-off purchase for some distant uncle made months ago. I don't need ANOTHER rifle thank you very much (still having doubts after buying the first one). Funnily enough I never seem to get any spam from Play, even though I actually want to know about their (usually half decent) special offers.
  • Andrew R.
    Amazon are terrible for it; I bought a kindle book Apache by Ed Macy - and I constantly get emails telling me I'm interested in Military History. I bought one f*ckin £2.99 book - I don't care about Hitler and the third Reich!
  • zeddy
    @ Nick T: You'd need two. One never feels very satisfying after half an hour.
  • The B.
    Cartridge Monkey, ever heard of them? No neither have I. They started spamming me, I clicked the unsubscribe link, more spam, I emailed them and asked them to stop, more spam, I emailed them again, more spam, I reported them to the ICO, more spam, I chased up on the ICO complaint, more spam, I chased again, more spam, and then one day it stopped. For 2 sodding months and then it started again, cue repeating the above cycle again and it stopped again, they haven't done it since.
  • PaulH
    @The Real Bob Add the address to the spam filter?
  • Alexis
    Argos. Can't get rid of the bastards' emails.
  • milky p.
    Sometimes spam e-mails use the unsubscribe function to show the e-mail address is active and therefore worth sending spam to. If it's clearly spam, like chinese brides for sale for $5000, if you click unsubscribe it may make matters worse.
  • Meg A.
    I'm so sick of spam. :(
  • Freda
    For goodness sake!!!!!!!! its e-mail, if you don't want it, unsubscribe or hit delete,its not as ifyou have a mountain of paper to dispose of, no rainforests are chopped down for e-mail, you don't have to recycle it, or shred it, ITS JUST E-MAIL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • jastin c.
    @ Freda. It is not just an email. I can see you might be one of the senders who is trying to defend the spammers and trying to make your life from it but spam emails: 1) Unwanted 2) Steals my time which includes reporting abuse to their ISPs. 3) Steals my mobile phone bandwidth. 4) Put unnecessary pressure on networks. You can add to spammers list as well.

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