Tag - email

Google+ means email+

Google+ is the most interesting thing to come out of Google since … well, since search. Or maybe Android.

But it’s also a major generator of email:

To be fair, that’s not unlike Facebook. It’s just that on Facebook, we’ve had more time to adapt (and update our email preferences). On G+, it’s so new that I’ve wanted to stay engaged and stay updated.

Guess I’m gonna have to update my email preferences!

On another note, I think this marks my fourth straight post about Google. That says two things:

  1. Google is doing a lot of stuff!
  2. I need to focus on some different things!

Back to the salt mines …

Important notice from A Random Corporation™ with my personal data

Outsourcing is wonderful, because you don’t have to do the dirty work yourself.

Outsourcing sucks, because you’re at the mercy of the quality (or lack thereof) of your new bestest friend partner … who’s never quite as pretty as during the days you were dating.

I don’t know if you’ve gotten any of these Dear John letters from major hotel chains lately, but I’ve gotten three. Here’s the one from Marriott:

April 4, 2011

Dear Marriott Customer,

We were recently notified by Epsilon, a marketing vendor used by Marriott International, Inc. to manage customer emails, that an unauthorized third party gained access to a number of Epsilon’s accounts including Marriott’s email list.

In all likelihood, this will not impact you. However, we recommend that you continue to be on the alert for spam emails requesting personal or sensitive information. Please understand and be assured that Marriott does not send emails requesting customers to verify personal information.

We take your privacy very seriously. Marriott has a long-standing commitment to protecting the privacy of the personal information that our guests entrust to us. We regret this has taken place and apologize for any inconvenience.

Please visit our FAQ to learn more.


Marriott International, Inc.

The Epsilon mentioned is marketing-as-usual-not-a-chance … an email marketing firm that manages 2500 clients’ email campaigns and sends out 40 billion emails a year, according to this Fast Company story about the security breach.

Apparently the break affected only 2% of its clients, which is still more than 50 large companies … companies that most people would recognize (see the full list at SecurityWeek).

I’m guessing my name and email address is one of the breached ones, seeing as how I’ve received 3 emails from 3 different companies telling me that I may be affected … and that Marriott is among the listed companies at SecurityWeek.

Ahh well … I’m public enough with all my data to be a major spam target anyways.

The major downside of outsourcing critical customer intelligence like this? Creating super-delectable targets for spammers and hackers.

With data from many massive companies all housed in one place … it’s a big temptation. A big target.

And a single breach exposes a LOT of data.

Facebook Messages: yes, this is an email killer

Facebook launched its new Messages feature today: social inbox, filtering by friends, eternal history, messages over medium (i.e., from all sources), and DEFINITELY NOT AN EMAIL KILLER.

Well, at least according to Mark Zuckerberg. However, the new Facebook messaging model definitely IS an email killer – just maybe not for 30-something fuddie-duddies. For our kids, the old Facebook messaging system had ALREADY killed email. And now, Facebook is positioning Messages as an overall messaging platform that will handle all of your messaging (eventually) in a single system.

But here’s why Facebook is positioning Messages as a non “email killer:”

  1. Email will stick
    Email will be around until the end of time, so why give an opportunity for people to point, laugh, and say that Facebook was wrong when claiming email’s dead?

  2. Email is too low a target
    Email doesn’t do half of what Messages can/will do. Messages is a bigger, more advanced idea. Maybe not better … we’ll see. But much, much bigger.

  3. Adoption will be uneven
    As always, some will adopt and some will not. There is no one perfect system for everyone. And, especially for older people … they’re not the early adopters that some of us are.

But make no mistake. Google Wave was a flyer that fell. Messages is better-baked because of it. And Messages, or something like it, will replace what we now call email.

It’ll just take some time.


Here’s a great overview of Messages and why it’s an ambitious, interesting, and almost certainly successful project.

How NOT to do an email newsletter

If you’re currently sending email newsletters to a list of subscribers, or considering doing so, there are plenty of resources out there offering great tips on how to do it well, such as this excellent guide.

Here’s a real basic tip … don’t make it look like this:

I’m in the software business, and a lot of our focus is educational technology (not incidentally, that’s where my masters is, too). Since I need to keep up on edtech news, as well as general education news, I subscribe to a number of email newsletters, including this one from EducationNews.org.

But few are as badly designed as this one.

The colors are uninspiring, even muddy. The titles (which also serve as links) are anything but highlighted – they’re lowlighted. And the blurbs about each article are obviously automated – often serving as very unreliable clues as to the actual content and worth of the article.

The result is no shock: I click on links from this newsletter least of any that I get … and I probably won’t be subscribed to this one much longer.

On how Google Wave surprisingly changed my life – This is so Meta

At the time, we would also send designs and screenshots by email – needless to say, things would get lost – hardly anything would get done on time, and the most common reply I would get back is that they missed the particular instruction in the mass of emails I would send.

To compound my trouble, we were collaborating across multiple time zones – UK, US Pacific Time, Indian time and Singapore time. Emails would arrive in the night and it is depressing to wake up to 35 new emails from different people.

Then I got my google wave invite. First of all, I didn't really get it. I was not really sure how this would help me. However, after I had a skype conference and one of my partners complained for 15 minutes about how I would write unimportant emails like

“I need a status update next week”

I decided to try something new. All emails that were NOT time critical would be done with google wave, and all important emails could be written normally. We started off doing that.

Things changed.

Suddenly, communication habits of everyone changed. People started grouping their communication into topics and resurrecting old 'waves' when it was about the same topic. For example, if we were talking about bonuses, and then spoke about something else for two weeks, then came back to bonuses, we would simply resurrect the old wave. Business became structured.

via On how Google Wave surprisingly changed my life – This is so Meta.

Most ridiculous opt-out page ever

This has got to be the most ridiculous opt-out page in the history of permission marketing:

netapp opt-out form

First name, last name, job role, department, industry, company name, address, city, state/province, zip/postal code, country, phone, fax, email, and comments.

Unbelievable. Email address and UNSUBSCRIBE is the max expected.

Better yet is a link in the email that includes your email address and automatically takes you to a page that processes the unsubscription and lets you know.