Spam From Citysearch (continued)

Just three hours after I posted my rant on Citysearch spam I got a new message from the Angie Eckford. You might think there was an apology or at least a word “sorry”…

So did I. Boy, were we both wrong!

Through 157 words of the reply (not counting signature and subject) there was not a single use of words “sorry”, “apology” or “regret”. What was there, though, are explanation on what went wrong (okay, I don’t know how to use Mail Merge too, but I don’t use it as an excuse), what that person was trying to do (send out a promotion to as many people as possible) and accusations that my previous post made “the entire company tuned into your message you placed online and negative comment about me“.

At least someone listened this time.

Since the first post went public I feel the need to reply here, on this blog as well. I do hope this won’t happen again – neither to me, nor to other people who might have been interested in Citysearch services. After all, CItysearch service seem to be popular and someone somewhere is probably very happy using it.

We have learned our lessons here – mine are “think twice before doing business with Citysearch” and “don’t use your main e-mail even with companies that look big”.

Spam From CitySearch

It’s quite interesting how some people take their jobs as a carte blanche to do pretty much anything they want. Some time ago while doing a marketing research for our clients for web development, I got in touch with Citysearch. Client and I were thinking of trying some of their services but it turned out my other client was already using them and was less then happy. I, for one, thought that it’s the case of “marketing – you’re doing it wrong”, but that’s not the point of this post.

While on the phone with CitySearch sales agent, I was really pushed hard to purchase their services. I actually ran out of polite words to decline – even though I stated the honest reason that we couldn’t take any more clients at that moment. Sales rep kept pushing me almost to the point when I was ready to hang up on her. But – we worked it out, so I hoped it’s over.

I was wrong.

Recently, starting about a month ago, I started getting correspondence from Angie Eckford, the city search rep of some sort. Of course all the e-mails looked personalized, but how personalized can a message be given the subject is something along with “Business Owners Receive 50% off Direct Connections to Qualified Customers” – you can guess all by yourself. To me there’s nothing personal, SpamAssassin on my servers kills plenty of those in a day. Plus the regular Viagra stuff – you know.

Given that there’s a direct phone, personal e-mail and a thin memory that I talked to some human being from that company I replied with the question of “When did I double opted-in into this spam list?”. The reponse was just what I thought it would be: it’s not a spam list, it’s a personal message.

Yeah, right. Viagra guys also sending me personal messages. You know, those that start with “%FIRST_NAME% %LAST_NAME%, you will be suprised!“.

Politely, I replied with “Please, don’t do that again.” – only to get one more piece of citysearch junk in my inbox.

Sure, Citysearch works for some people, most likely – restaurants, local places to go and so on. But I’d rather spend some extra hours working out Google AdWords campaigns to target my clients’ markets, than be a subject of such a dishonest treatment by CitySearch representatives.

Oh, and did you know that cost per click is about ten times cheaper in Google AdWords than in Citysearch campaings?

Bad Economy? Hire! Now!

Supply and Demand As people ask themselves what is the best place they can invest money, when it comes to small business owners the answer is simple. In fact, it’s so simple that I always get puzzled when fellow small business owners ask me how to invest.

For eons the most expensive thing on small business rosters was the workforce. Hiring someone else for small business was always the hardest decision to make, and we never hire the candidate we wanted – often because we just can’t pay that much. These days, when economy is taking a nosedive, the best investment you can probably make is a new hire.

Just think – you probably would never be able to lure that worker into getting a job at your place if corporate sector would be doing so well. Think of all the perks and the stability of the paycheck and all that. Now you can change the tide and use it to your advantage.

Lure them with flexible schedules and casual attire. Allow working from home if possible – you can’t do that with a receptionist, but a bookkeeper or accountant or phone sales/customer service person is definitely not needed on the premises constantly. Think how you can let them cut costs on travel. Let them spend more time with their families then their corporate bosses who demand 60 to 70 hours work week in order just to keep their jobs. Think family atmosphere. Think thinking outside of the cubicle, box or even outside of the game rules. All that – without being reprimanded for not conforming to corporate culture that imposed by some CEO who’s already have been paid a year more then you will make per life.

Your advantage is speed and flexibility. Large corporations are like large trucks – they speed up slow. While they will be recovering from the current crisis you will have plenty of time to interview candidates and find that person who will become your next star. Wait a little longer and corporate world will start snatching these people back with their bonuses, corporate gym discounts and tuition payment. Your small business can’t compete there. Start earlier, so you won’t have to.