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Amazon and Mailing Lists

Back in the old days of the Internet (the 90s) one of the things that made me want to slap the snot out of certain people was email mailing lists. People would sign up for a mailing list, and when they realized they really didn't want 500 emails per day, they would post a message to the list asking someone to take them off. This is even though every message typically contained a few lines of instructions at the bottom (something like "to unsubscribe, reply to this mail with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line"), but apparently there are whole loads of people out there too stupid, too lazy, or (most likely) too self-entitled to follow these simple instructions to take themselves off the mailing list.

The lesson to be learned here is that mailing lists are simply not compatible with the human race. There is always going to be a percentage of people that are not fit to handle the responsibility of removing themselves from a mailing list, and they end up ruining it for everyone. That's why mailing lists have mostly been replaced by web forums.

Well the reason I bring it up is that, apparently, Amazon didn't learn the lesson.

Today I got an email saying they had corrections available for a book I had bought for my Kindle, and that if I wanted it I should reply with Yes in the first line of the message. Here is what I did in response to that message.

  • I replyed to the message. Got a message back saying the reply had to come from the same email address I used at amazon.com (which is a forwarding only email address that's delivered to main main inbox).
  • Fine, I grumbled, and added an identity to my email client, and followed up with the From header set to my Amazon email address. Got a message back saying it was sent to an address not configured to accept email.
  • Of course. I was supposed to reply to the original message. So I went back to the original message, and replied to that one again.
  • Then I realized I didn't type Yes in the body so I replied yet a fourth time, being sure that I was using my Amazon email address, and that I typed Yes.

It finally worked and I got my update.

If a simple Yes reply to Amazon caused me this much trouble, imagine what trouble it will cause the people who can't remove themselves from a mailing list. There is no way they'll be able to manage it. I don't know if it's the first time Amazon ever attempted something like this, but I suspect it is, because if they ever did it before I don't think they'd ever do it again.

Tags: amazon, lazy, mailing_lists, stupid
Permalink: http://blog.aerojockey.com/post/amazonpush
Last Edited: 13 May 2011, 2:26 AM
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