You know, going to the SES Conference, I tried to give these on-line marketing folks the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they're not all the sort of scum who'd love nothing more than another chance to shove their "message" down my throat, spam me, or re-sell my e-mail address.

Case in point: Atlas OnePoint.

I just received an unsolicited e-mail message from them which begins:

Thank you for visiting our booth at Search Engine Strategies, San Jose. We appreciate your interest in our innovative suite of online marketing tools. You may have seen our recent announcement - GO TOAST is now Atlas OnePoint (

Hang on a sec. I didn't visit any booths at SES. I arrived about 10 minutes before my session time, sat on the panel, and then left shortly after. Besides, when our panel ended, the conference was over. So I'm pretty sure I didn't swing by on my way out the door.

Dave Carlson, President of Atlas OnePoint (phone number 1-800-416-8389), screw you and your company.

I hope that someone searching for your company stumbled across this post and decides to take their business elsewhere.

The fact that the e-mail ends with:

If you no longer wish to receive Atlas OnePoint news, please contact Customer Care at Thank You.

Merely confirms my suspicion. You've added me to your "news" list under false pretenses and now expect me to do the work of fixing your mistake. How about if I repay the favor by running up the bill on that 1-800 number? Or convincing as many of my crazy blogger friends as possible to link to my story. Wouldn't it be fun to have this on the first page of search results as your own company web site?

In case the larger message is not clear, spamming people is not the way to win their business. It has the opposite effect. My e-mail box is not for your "news", marketing, press releases, and related junk.

Yes, junk.

Posted by jzawodn at August 16, 2004 03:14 PM

Reader Comments
# Mark Fletcher said:

Same here. Sigh.

on August 16, 2004 04:05 PM
# Joe Grossberg said:

Well it's your fault, because you neglected to opt out. (ducks)

It's also pitiful that they don't automate the process with an unsubscribe link, or instructions to put "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

It appears (surprise, surprise!) they're not interested in making it easy to get off their list.

I also wouldn't be surprised if they've already shared that list with other vendors.

on August 16, 2004 04:18 PM
# Justin Mason said:

duck like the wind, Joe ;)

That's pretty scummy tactics.

Jeremy -- any idea how they got your address in the first place? seems odd; I doubt the conference organisers would have given the assembled booth vendors the email addys of all the speakers... (but I could be wrong.)


on August 16, 2004 04:23 PM
# Eric said:

It could have even been someone that was at the conference and signed you up just being a jerk.
But I would imagine that it wouldn't even take that.

on August 16, 2004 04:35 PM
# jase said:

It should not be too hard getting it high in the results. A bank of mine recently annoyed me now if you search for the bank name and customer service you see the post nicely in the results.

Companies should not oversee the power of the wise words of the blogger and how they are so easily sprayed over Google for all to see.

on August 16, 2004 04:55 PM
# TDavid said:

Convention spam can be some of the worst. It's no so bad for the free conventions but for the ones where you pay high registration fees just to get into the convention so you can walk the floor and be pitched and then you get slammed with spam without asking for it ... that's not cool.

Jeremy, while on the subject of spam, I know you write here in your blog from time to time about Gmail and I think you'll find this study rather interesting: -- Please LMK what you think :)

on August 16, 2004 05:20 PM
# A said:

Speaking of spam, I sure get a LOT of it in my Yahoo email account. WTF?

You know, if I attend a conference, I really don't mind getting emails from companies that were there. I might be somewhat interested. Hell, even if you MAIL me stuff I won't go ballistic and be a complete ass by telling you "fuck you". Hell, Yahoo's spam is much more annoying - stuff for which I'm not even remotely interested in, and never ever expressed any interest in in the first place.

on August 16, 2004 07:17 PM
# Danny Sullivan said:

I got the same email, and I didn't visit the booth. I also had a reader yesterday ask me the same thing, how they got on the list when they didn't attend the show. I've asked Jupitermedia to look into this. My understanding was that attendee names were not given to third parties. It's not been an issue that I've ever seen come up like this before. So if something's changed, I'll work on my end to change it back.

on August 17, 2004 03:55 AM
# Chris said:

> It's also pitiful that they don't automate the process
> with an unsubscribe link, or instructions to put
> "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Call me silly, but isn't that a no-no under the Can Spam Act?

on August 17, 2004 06:26 AM
# Anonymous Coward said:

How do you know that some prankster wasn't going around signing up people to be a jackass?
I always use the name Jeremy Zawodny when I sign up to websites. :-)

on August 17, 2004 07:18 AM
# Anonymous Coward said:

How do you know that some prankster wasn't going around signing up people to be a jackass?
I always use the name Jeremy Zawodny when I sign up to websites. :-)

on August 17, 2004 07:18 AM
# Gary Senser said:

I rec'd the same email too. And, same as you, I did not visit their booth! These people just don't get it!

on August 17, 2004 07:52 AM
# Barry Schwartz said:

Alright, I have received more detail from a sponsor (the name of which I will not reveal). It was a mess up, they sent out a list of some sort and instead of deleting data, they hid the data. I wrote about this at my blog posting named Atlas OnePoint Messes with Jeremy Zawodny.

Mistakes happen, I am forgiving. But that is me, most people are not as forgiving (I don't judge). :)

on August 17, 2004 07:58 AM
# said:
on August 17, 2004 05:24 PM
# Opie said:

Jeez... Chill out. Who gives a shit

on August 17, 2004 07:08 PM
# said:

Sounds like a bunch of pedantic whining. You post your e-mail address on the WWW - expect unsolicited e-mail.

Atlas OnePoint has some interesting technology which you're discounting based on a clerical error (not even on their part). I suppose it's a big achievement that your groupies skewed Google's seach results.

Posting their 800 number is classic passive/aggressive behavior.

Like the world's gonna come to an end because of your e-mail address inadvertantly being added to their distribution list.

on August 18, 2004 06:49 AM
# Danny Sullivan said:

As promised, here's what happened on our end:

The show's policy is NOT to give attendee contact details to sponsors and exhibitors. We do share job titles and company names. That's so sponsors and exhibitors have some idea of the types of people who attended the show. But actual names of individuals or email addresses? No, we don't give those out as a matter of policy.

Unfortunately, in providing the usual job title/company name information after our latest show, we inadvertently included email addresses. The information had been hidden within a spreadsheet that was sent, rather than actually being deleted before sending.

We've now emailed all sponsors and exhibtors that they should not use the information to contact attendees, assuming they found it in the first place. From our end, we apologize for what happened. We'll ensure such a thing doesn't happen again.

on August 18, 2004 10:01 AM
# Dave Carlson said:

To those we may have offended:

We at Atlas OnePoint screwed-up. It's that simple. I'm the president of Atlas OnePoint and the buck stops on my desk.

I have been in communication with Danny Sullivan and Jupitermedia about our error. We have destroyed the email list Jupitermedia sent to us.

There are a number of unfortunate circumstances that led to our mistake in sending out the emails to the Search Engine Strategies attendees. That doesn't help get the unwanted email out of people's inboxes. For that I must apologize.

Atlas OnePoint despises SPAM as much as Jeremy Zawondy. Jeremy has every right to be upset! Atlas OnePoint has clear internal policies for how we handle email lists and email communications sent to our customer base. We did not follow those policies.

We sent the WRONG email message to the WRONG email list WITHOUT the standard Atlas OnePoint email unsubscribe language.

Can we do any worse than that? Probably not ...

Once again, please accept my sincere apologies.

Dave Carlson
Atlas OnePoint

on August 18, 2004 01:42 PM
# Hashim said:

congrats, you're already the number one result when I searched their name.

on August 18, 2004 05:16 PM
# Uncle Ben said:


Jeremy, with great power...

on August 18, 2004 05:53 PM
# said:

on June 25, 2005 05:13 PM
# effisk said:

Too late Dave.

You should have thought about it *before*.

Your first mistake was to buy the list from JupiterMedia.

on December 14, 2005 06:27 AM
# Kris Farmer said:

I get calls every day from SEO companies. I never get my badge scanned at SES but always had the suspicion that they got my name from the registration list. I am sure a lot of them just search Yahoo and see who is paying high $ for PPC.

I love it when they call and tells me, "I see you are $xx per click for "competitive keyword"". I love the fact that I just paid for their click so they could call me and waste my time.

If you are that good, why are you calling me? Shouldn't I be calling you?

on December 16, 2005 09:17 AM
# said:

Good grief. This response seems pretty extreme.

on November 13, 2006 06:49 AM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.