Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I got spammed by Promotions East :(

This is post not popular with Promotions East, but I am posting anyhow as what happened is annoying to me and probably hundreds of you who attended Promotions East.  I registered for the show a few weeks ago and the week before the show I began to get SPAM from more than 10 suppliers each day and it continues on. 

Unfortunately, although I had properly registered to avoid these emails, my name was provided to suppliers anyhow.  Worse, SAAGNY/Promotions East did not send these messages on behalf of suppliers, they provided my email to the suppliers!  So now I have to manually unsubscribe to each supplier email that is coming through.   Fortunately, we use Postini (from Google) at Geiger and it has caught every one of these emails.  But I still go through the list of junk mail when time allows and now it is MUCH longer than ever.

Before I published this post, I shared it with a friend at SAAGNY and while he is not happy with me, I have corrected factual errors from my first draft.  What I have said above is correct but in talking with SAAGNY, I now know WHY this happened and it was an HONEST mistake.  No harm intended and I'm impressed with the quick response SAAGNY provided along with the admission of the mistake.

During registration there were 2 places to provide an email address.  One was for show registration information and one was for suppliers.  I left the supplier field blank thinking I was protecting myself.  In the OPT OUT, I left it as the default so that I could receive the show emails.  But during the export to suppliers there was a mistake in the settings and provided my personal email to every exhibiting supplier.

Here is the screenshot from the registration form.

I applaud SAAGNY for being so responsive to my inquiry and helping me get the facts straight although they have not yet confirmed that the mistake was on their side.  Organizations make mistakes and it's how you react that determines the quality of the organization.  SAAGNY is a great organization and more importantly has great people.  When my family recently went through a very serious medical issue with a family member, SAAGNY people were some of the most helpful and caring.

Given PPAI is running EXPO East in 2013, I am confident the problem will be resolved as I successfully registered and attended The Expo 2012 and have not been spammed.

So while I'm upset about this mistake, I still appreciate all the good things SAAGNY does including the foundation and a great show that I enjoyed attending.   I'll get unsubscribed from all the annoying lists and move on (Except I will push show organizers to make it much tougher to provide suppliers our email addresses on pre and post show lists).  You should do the same.  But the next time you register for a show, follow these suggestions to reduce your chance of spam.

1.  Use a secondary email address for all trade show registrations and newsletter registrations.  You can get a free one from yahoo, Hotmail, gmail or more.
2.  Get a gmail address and you can add "+tradeshowname" at the end of your email to filter junk and determine where it is coming from.  So if your name is madeupname@gmail.com, you can use madeupname+saagny@gmail.com to track the source as well as make it easier to filter.
3.  Use a great spam filter like postini.
4.  Carefully check the OPT out whenever registering.
5.  Have a 2nd set of business cards for shows and only give your main card to people you really want to talk with.

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