Email Marketing and Auto-Responders: The Day I Got Dumped By An Auto-Responder by Joan Pasay --Copyright 2005
I am really depressed today. An old e-newsletter flame that dumped me many months ago sent me an email out of the blue. I hadn't received any emails from this old flame in months. I did not even think I was still on the list. Receiving that e-newsletter conjured up feelings of betrayal and hurt that I thought I had resolved after dozens of sessions with my therapist. And to make matters worse, the email newsletter was trying to get me to buy some product, from another company, that my old flame was 'recommending.' My flame did not even have the decency to send me an email newsletter about how things were going in his neck of the woods. I still can't believe any of this is happening.
My therapist says that journaling about my problems will bring clarity and understanding. I hope she's right. I guess the best place for me to start is to outline how this sordid affair ever began in the first place. If I get emotional, please forgive me. I really cared for my old flame and my heart is still a little tender. I just don't understand how any of this happened. I never signed up for the pain and tears my old flame left me with. I never signed up for being dumped by an auto-responder email newsletter. But let's go back eight months so I can tell you how this auto-responder and I first met.
Back in May, a friend of mine told me about a great self-development book she was reading. She couldn't stop talking about it; every time I saw my friend she talked and talked about the book. She kept on telling me I would really like it. After days and days of hearing about the book I went online and bought it. What do you know, my friend was right! I really liked the book. Within the first few chapters I was putting the methods into practice and seeing great results.
After reading about a quarter of the book I wanted to know more about the author and his company so I followed the URL on the back of the book to the author's website. There was a ton of information about the book as well as highlights of courses and seminars that were being offered at different locations around the world. It seemed that the company was offering seminar versions of what was covered in the book for those who either had ADD or were short on time and where unable to read the 400-plus-page book. I didn't really pay much attention to all the information about the courses and seminars since I already had the book and didn't mind the lengthy read. I did notice an e-newsletter signup box on the homepage, though. "Why not?" I thought. Maybe I would find out more ways to apply the principles in the book.
Soon I was receiving e-newsletters every Wednesday. I was right! Each email newsletter outlined different methods from the book. There were lots of real life application examples and testimonials from people who had also applied the principles. Oh sure, there were ads mentioning the courses and seminars, but I didn't mind. Within a few weeks I was looking forward to getting my weekly e-zine. It was official. This e-newsletter and I were going steady.
A few weeks later, Wednesday came and I didn't get an email newsletter from my flame. I was perplexed. Those weekly e-zines were really helping me as I studied the book. I did not want to miss any of the valuable information so I went back to the website and signed up again. Just like when I signed up the first time, the signup form asked me for my name. I was already signed up under the name Joan and wanted to see if my original signup was still out there. I knew the only way I could track my signups was to choose another name. I picked an alternate name, went ahead and signed up, and eagerly awaited the next e-newsletter.
Soon I was back on track and receiving the weekly e-zine. I could tell my second signup had worked because my alternate name was being used. It was kind of funny and I wondered if anyone ever looked at the names on that email newsletter list. I guess I will never know, but at least it gave me a bit of a giggle every time I open my weekly e-newsletters and read the opening salutation of 'Dear Squidlips.'
A few weeks after my Squidlips signup, I started to get strange feelings of déjà vu as I was reading my weekly newsletter. Had I seen this email before? I located my book folder in my email client and looked through all the email newsletters I had received from this company. I could not believe it. These e-newsletters were set up on an auto-responder service! My weekly Dear Squidlips emails had started back at the beginning of a series of email messages. I WAS having déjà vu; I was reading emails I had already received!
Now my knickers were in a twist. This was not a weekly e-zine! This was a series of promo messages! What was the deal? I had experienced flings with auto-responders before. I knew the drill. I had been on 'five day e-courses' and known all along that the messages were sitting in some database waiting for me to signup. I knew when I subscribed it would trigger a series of messages to get delivered to me in a certain sequence. Heck, I even used email auto-responders with my own business. What I had not expected was to get into an auto-responder fling when I signed up for a weekly e-newsletter. I thought this email newsletter and I had made a commitment. I thought we were going steady.
After a sleepless night of tears and accepting that I was having a relationship with a database, I decided to stay on the list. Weekly e-newsletters kept on coming addressed to Squidlips. After a while I forgot about the auto-responder factor and started to enjoy the content in the auto-responder e-zines. Deep down I knew I was having a fling but I didn't care. I was still reading the 400-plus-page book and I thought the articles in the e-newsletters really enhanced my reading.
Months went by. This was getting to be quite the auto-responder fling! Email message after email message appeared week after week addressed to Squidlips. But then, one day the tone of the email newsletter seemed a little different. The email message basically said I was being dumped. Well, it didn't say the word 'dumped.' It said since I had not bought anything that the newsletters were promoting, this would be the last e-newsletter I would be receiving. Translation: "We have tried and tried to get you to buy a course or seminar and we don't know any other way to convince you to buy something and we have given up, so get lost...loser." By the time I finished reading the e-zine I was in tears. It was probably my own fault, but I had grown attached to these emails and I really looked forward to getting them.
For days I was in a funk. I cried, ripped the down feathers out of my designer pillows, and got really depressed. Day after day I visited deeper and deeper recesses of my being that I did not even know existed. The depression grew worse and worse. I wondered if that auto-responder e-zine, or whatever it was, knew I had paid $40 for their book. I laid awake, night after night, asking the Universe why this company had a weekly e-newsletter signup form in their homepage that was really a series of canned emails tailored to promote their products. Weeks went by and the confusion remained. Would I ever recover from being dumped by this auto-responder?
When I was able to leave the house without fainting, I booked a few sessions with my therapist. Maybe she could help me realized why I was so hurt. It took a lot of deep breathing, but I soon found the root cause of my pain. At first it was hard for me to wrap my head around the truth, but I think my depression was triggered by this company 'unsubscribing me' from their e-newsletter list. I thought the way this opt-in email newsletter stuff worked was that I got to do the dumping. I thought I got to 'unsubscribe' when I wanted the love affair to be over.
In the past my auto-responder affairs have ended and my life went on without much longing for the arms of my absent email lover. I admit for a few days I would miss getting the emails, but let's face it, when the affair started I knew it would be no different than the summer I had that hot and heavy romance with Melvin from Cleveland. All summer I knew come Labor Day, Melvin would leave his grandmother's house (which happened to be across the street from mine), go back to Cleveland, and I would never see him again. I knew most likely he wouldn't even write me. We didn't care what was going to happen when school started; Melvin and I smooched every minute of every day and made the most of that summer.
Most of my auto-responder email affairs have been exactly the same as my summer with Melvin. Hot and heavy for a while, lots of frequent in-your-face contact, and then nothing. Sometimes some of my auto-responder lovers have encouraged me to signup for their regular email list because they wanted to continue our relationship with something more formal and real-time. Some just stop emailing and I never heard from them again. Regardless, I knew from the beginning that the email relationship was a 'Melvin'; I knew the email relationship was a short-term fling.
It had been months since this all happened and I thought I was over my old e-newsletter flame. That auto-responder that masqueraded as a going steady e-newsletter relationship was tucked away in my past. I really thought the flame had been snuffed out months ago. I remembered that last email; how could I forget it? The company had been clear and had had no qualms about telling me I was being un-subscribed for lack of purchase. But then, as I mentioned at this beginning of this journal entry, out of the blue, I got a lone message from the company. I'll admit my heart sang a bit when I saw the email message sitting in my in-box. I thought the company had experienced a change of heart and really did love me. I thought my email flame wanted me back.
I was wrong. The email was worse than my last Dear Squidlips email (that should have read 'Dear John'). I guess the company thought they would try to get me to buy something from a company they were 'recommending' since they had not experienced any luck with me buying something from them.
I'm happy to report that earlier today, I un-subscribed myself from their newsletter list. I didn't want to get my heart broken again so I took matters into my own hands and dumped the company from my in-box. When I un-subscribed from the list, I was asked why I was leaving. I was happy to answer the question:
"Summer was great, Melvin, but school is about to start and you need to go
back to Cleveland."
About the Author
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