August 1, 2008

Do you have my permission?

Here's some simple networking etiquette that isn't about how you behave at the event, but how you behave after the event.

Don't add me to your mailing list without my permission.

Just because we had a nice conversation and I gave you my business card, that does not mean I want to start receiving your newsletter.

It is technically not against the CAN-SPAM Act to send an unsolicited message to someone, as long as you have an unsubscribe option available to them and you honor it within ten business days. Unfortunately, I think most of the people who add me to their mailing list have never heard of CAN-SPAM.

But honoring CAN-SPAM doesn't protect you from someone reporting you as a spammer anyway. And my experience with some e-mail users is that they've got hot trigger fingers for that "report as spam" button. I've had people who willingly signed up for my newsletter later click the "spam" button instead of the unsubscribe link.

Besides making yourself look like a spammer, it's just not considerate or professional to add people to your mailing list without permission. It's all "me, me, me" and not "you, you, you."

If you'd like to add me to your mailing list, ask. If you don't ask at the event, ask me later in an e-mail.

But adding me without my permission creates the perception that you don't care about building a relationship as much as you care about making a buck or building a huge list.

And that doesn't encourage me to do business with you in the future.

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Anonymous said...

Guilty as charged...sort of...

If I meet someone at a networking event and they have expressed interest in my newsletter (and they've handed me their card) I will send them a complimentary copy of my latest newsletter with an invitation to sign up for more newsletters or just to keep me as a networking contact.
It is then up to them to be added to the newsletter list.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Jacki, that's a respectful way to go about it. You're offering them something that may be of value to them, as an invitation, and making a personal contact at the same time. I wouldn't be offended if someone approached me that way.

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