Note to companies: Christmas is not an excuse to spam your customers

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Christmas is just a few days away, and businesses are scrambling to squeeze every last penny they can from desperate shoppers. This leads to many aggressive and annoying marketing campaigns (enough with the diamond commercials already), but none are more annoying than spam coming from companies of which I'm already a customer.

Let's back up and talk about why spam works for some companies. Spam works because there's virtually no cost involved. Sending out hundreds of thousands of marketing emails is basically free. The recipients of the emails will either read them, or delete them, but either way there's no way the sender can lose. That's how normal spam works, but the equation changes when the the recipient is already a customer of the spammer. In that situation, the spammer can lose the customer's trust, which is worth much more than whatever they're offering in the unsolicited marketing email. There is a very real cost to spamming your existing customers.

Companies spam their users throughout the year, but it gets way worse in November and December. Companies that I otherwise would have trusted like Netflix, Pandora, and Amazon have all sent multiple spammy emails to me this past month, and I want it to stop. Christmas is not an excuse to spam your customers. If you're involved with the marketing at your company, please keep this message in mind. There's nothing more valuable than your relationship with your customers, so please don't jeopardize that just because Christmas is coming up.

You obviously shouldn't spam anyone, but if you're going to, at least spam people that aren't already giving you money.

Side note: when I clicked on the "unsubscribe" link from Pandora's spam, I was taken to a web page with the following message: "Your request has been processed and the email address has been removed from the list 2010_11_17_New_Artists." What a worthless confirmation message.

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