I was going to do a blog post about, “Where’s Waldo?” but that will have to wait. I have to get something off my chest.
Here’s an email that I just got:
I hope all is well! My name is Yutaka Yamamoto and I’m with Oracle’s Business Intelligence and Analytics team, as well as a new member to the RCN account management team.
I wanted to reach out, introduce myself and see if you have time in the next few weeks to have a conversation. My goal is to put myself in a position to best help and to be leveraged as an Oracle resource.
Would you have time for a conversation in the next few weeks? I look forward to hearing from you!
Where to start with this travesty?
1. No concern for privacy.
I get that if I sign up for a conference that I will probably be inundated with stupid emails from other companies since conference mailing lists are always shared. In this case, all I was guilty of was having an RCN email address.
RCN obviously shared my email with Oracle. Why? RCN must be desperate for money, since they sold their customer data to Oracle.
2. Totally irrelevant.
So I have an RCN email address. I use it to send emails. What on earth does that have to do with Oracle and what they do? And if by some miracle I was interested in Oracle, I know enough to go to their website and find what I need.
3. Annoyingly presumptuous.
Why on earth would I want to have a conversation with a total stranger who has just invaded my privacy? I am so annoyed at this travesty that I was inspired to write a blog post about it. I will also be posting my displeasure on other social media outlets.
4. Downright scary.
Yutaka is part of Oracle’s Business Intelligence and Analytics team. Mmmm, Intelligence and Analyltics – what that says to me is that Yutaka wants to know ALL about me and my web habits. There is a reason I always browse in private windows and always delete my cookies when I close my browser. There is no way on earth that I will give information to a company like Oracle!
I suppose there is one bright spot; the email was personalized. Although I am not surprised since it appears that RCN has sold my data to Oracle.
The end result of this is that I’m cancelling my RCN account. We were thinking of doing that anyway, but this just clinched it.
When will companies learn:
1. People buy from people they trust. Lose this trust and you’ll lose customers.
RCN just lost us as customers. We have been with them for 14 years. How dare they sell our information to another company? Yes, I get that what you put on the web is not private, but at least give me the choice on whether I want my information shared with other vendors.
2. If you annoy potential customers, they won’t buy from you.
As a matter of fact, with all the buzz about social media, this strategy may just backfire on you. People are usually compelled to write about bad experiences more so than writing about good experiences.
3. If you make customers uncomfortable, they won’t buy from you.
Don’t creep out customers or potential customers. People have varying comfort levels with how much information they are willing to share. Why anyone would willingly give Oracle insight into their habits is beyond me. I don’t see Oracle offering anything in return.
4. If you’re not relevant, you are wasting your time.
I still don’t see the connection between having an email address and a hardware/software database company like Oracle. Oracle is completely irrelevant to my life and needs.
Do you have any marketing horror stories to tell?
Privacy image is from Private Internet Access.