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Feedburner Caught Spamming

Posted By Darren Rowse 8th of February 2006 Blogging Tools and Services 0 Comments

Duncan at BlogHerald has broken the story that Feedburner have been marketing themselves with unsolicited emails (Spam). He’s posted the email and has definitely hit the spot – so much so that two Feedburner representatives have already left comments acknowledging that they were wrong to do so (particularly the comment from Dick Costolo who explicitly admits the problem and takes responsibility). It looks like a bad mistake from someone in the company who was given the freedom to market Feedburner without knowing the boundaries. Props to Dick for admitting the problem.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Nothing wrong with a bit of spam on toast. Grilled slower over the feedburner.. I mean, under the grill ;)

    Seriously though, how much damage has this done to their reputation? I had a friend offer to promote my online business in this fashion for me, he nearly did it as well. This kind of thing can destroy a small business, but for something like FeedBurner, I doubt it very much.

  • Emacle, it’s not so much that it can or can’t hurt the business, it’s more about the fact that we all want to embrace a specific culture and approach to the market. When we take actions that are antithetical to the culture, energy and ethic we want to embrace, then it undercuts our other efforts in the marketplace. It makes lighthearted posts about additional funding seem disingenuous, so on and so forth. The fact of the matter is that if we want to have an entrepreneurial approach to getting things done, we also have to make sure everybody is absolutely on the same page about how we go about things. Companies react to mistakes in two ways – Either you can create rules rules rules, or you can work hard to make sure everybody “gets” the culture and ethic and let people be more entrpreneurial. I prefer the latter approach because it’s a lot more fun if it works! It’s also way more stressful when it doesn’t! So, shame on us for not “getting” our own culture more thoroughly across the company. We are very quick to promote our own success when we sign deals and work with great customers, so we have to look ourselves in the eye and challenge ourselves when we screw up. This is probably starting to sound awfully self-important and ponderous, so i’ll shut up now.

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  • I had one the best tech support experiences of my life with a Feedburner rep, so I’m willing to forgive this time. Especially when the big dogs come out to offer not only explanations, but apologies and promises that it won’t happen again.

  • Brian, I noted the same thing myself over at The Blog Herald…I’m willing to forgive a mistake by FeedBurner (provided they don’t do it again!) because I have had better customer service from them than any other online entity I can think of.

    Dick himself helped me figure out why Technorati wasn’t picking up my tags, when Technorati’s own customer service wouldn’t even answer my e-mails.

    Dick’s the Man!


  • I like Feedburner even more after seeing their overall, and Dick’s specific, response to this situation. I respect people and companies who can admit “I/we messed up” and then work to make sure they don’t do it again. Heck, where I used to work, the CEO of the company actively urged the marketing department to spam (which we refused to do), and even when the meaning and consequences of “spam” were explained to him he thought it was a great business-building idea. So I see a world of difference in the situation here with Feedburner.

  • The way I see it is that we learn from our mistakes (or we should) and that this is actually an opportunity for Feedburner to grow and become a better company.

    It’s also an opportunity for Feedburner to show they are in touch with the blogosphere (their market) which I think Dick is doing well at.

    Of course it’s when accumulated apologies come for accumulated mistakes that people begin to loose faith in a company.

  • Ironically, when I was clicking over from Bloglines to read the full post, the page I got said:
    “This feed is making a “clunking” sound.
    This publisher’s content was recently unavailable so FeedBurner cannot present it at this time.”

    I’m sure it was just synchronicity, and not censorship, but funny all the same.

  • I checked my trashbin (which I haven’t cleared up in 13 months) and my Spamnix folder, My Norton Anti-Spam folder, Junk mail folder and did an entire search for block texts of that example email – I did not receive it. And, I’ve got about 2-dozen feedburner claims happening. As such, I don’t consider it to be spam – because surely, they have my email address on record, and if it was unsolicited wouldn’t I have received a copy too?

    Of course, despite all that, my filters with the “To Whom It May Have Concerned” would have just transfered it to my trashbin anyway. I guess I am one of those too, that thinks that SPAM these days, are more of the repetitive type of email campaigns that flog people’s email in boxes .. and from what I read at Duncan’s and other sites about this, it was a one-time email? SO, what’s the big deal?

    I get more peeved at those emails that gets MISSED by my Spamnix .. you know the ones .. with the blue backgrounds, the ones with GOOD CATCHY LOGO emails, that annoying Charity/Non-Profit Organization Contact: one, and of course during xmas season Letters From Santa spammed from Inc.

  • “without knowing the boundaries”

    Hmm, do reputable companies (ie not sploggers etc) really think that spamming is up for discussion?

    Yep I guess it was a mistake this time.

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