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I get an awful lot of email, and I dispense with it quickly. Things are either “To do” (so they go into my “to do” system), or they are “For information”, so I file them appropriately – or they are Junk.

If I receive unsolicited email from a band promoting a gig or a record – then, like all spam, it gets filtered and I never hear from them again no matter what they send.

In this shorthand sorting system, sometimes I fire off responses a little too quickly and casually. Tonight I made a hasty mistake that I feel bad about and I apologise unreservedly to the band in question.

CC’d emails irritate the hell out of me. It means that my email address has gone to hundreds of people who will undoubtedly now start adding me to their own mailing lists, and the spam problem will just get worse. So when I received one today from a band, I hit the “Reply All” button and fired off the following response:

Hi XXXXXXXX (and all of XXXXXXXX’s internet contacts),

Rule #2 of sending out bulk promotional emails is to always put the email addresses into the BCC field, rather than the CC field. That way nobody’s email address gets revealed to all the other people the message was sent to. You’ve just added everyone here to everyone else’s mailing list. [Note: please don’t do this, everyone – it’s bad form].

Better yet, you might want to use an opt-in mailing list provider such as Aweber (http://aweber.com)

Rule #1 of course, is to ask permission first. I don’t recall signing up to your mailing list, and so you automatically go into my blocked senders file, never to be heard from again. Shame. I’m sure your music is very good, and now I’ll probably never hear it – and I’ll almost certainly never write about it.

But in the interests of trying to be helpful, here are a couple of articles I’ve written on the topic that may be of some use:

http://newmusicstrategies.com/2008/08/30/whats-the-best-way-to-manage-a-fan-list/
http://newmusicstrategies.com/2008/02/22/sometimes-it-works/

All the best of luck with the release all the same.

Cheers,

Andrew Dubber
New Music Strategies
http://newmusicstrategies.com

Now, you and I may know that I was trying to be helpful (I was, honest), while trying to stomp on what are really quite serious internet practices. But actually, I just came across as unnecessarily mean. Not my intention, but that’s not the point. I potentially humiliated them in front of their friends and contacts. Which is just unpleasant, and I wish I could take it back.

So this is my apology to them. They know who they are. Sorry guys.

I hope, at least, that through me being the bad guy, they’ll get another shot at doing this sort of communication properly. That their contacts block me instead of them, and they get the sympathy vote that’ll let them off the hook on what I think was a genuine newbie mistake and not a horrendous internet gaffe.

My usual reaction is simply to ‘block sender’ so that I never hear from them again – but this time I took the unusual step of responding – and doing so publicly. If the band wishes to identify themselves here, they have my permission to post the information about their forthcoming CD single (no – not everyone, just them) in the comments below.

They may wish to see how sympathetic the comments are before they choose to do so. I don’t want to be responsible for reprimanding them in public twice – but it seems a fair way to make amends with what I have.

How do you deal with unwanted emails? What about the ones that send your contact details to hundreds of people? What should I have done in this instance?