The fine line between efficient and invasive

04/13/2012 14:54


Yesterday, I received a spam message from a backup software vendor. Now, this is not an unusual occurrence as I received unsolicited emails from various technology vendors all the time. I let them through the shields as they occasionally have some relevant information or products in them, as was the case yesterday. We have been looking at different backup options and this company's product looked promising.

So (and this is unusual for me) I clicked the link to download a whitepaper on the product. A quick glance showed it to be useless sales drivel with no technical details, so I closed the file and promptly forgot the incident.

About 10 minutes later, I received a voice mail from a sales rep from this company, followed by an email noting that I had downloaded a whitepaper, and asking if he could answer any questions.

That’s when the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

Creepy. Invasive. Pushy.

I replied to the email and politely told them just how disturbing I found the incident, and requested that I be removed from their database.

Now I’m well aware of the amount of data that can be collected when someone clicks a link. I have used this technology in the past to track email newsletters to our clients and see which articles were read the most. But that’s a far cry from directly calling a person right after they click for more information. In short, while I knew this could be done, I didn't think anyone had the gall to actually do it.

It’s just my opinion, but this is an example of corporate Orwellian invasiveness colluding with everything hated about pushy sales. I also think it is rather foolishly showing the general public just how much they are being tracked online (not necessarily a bad thing).

Let’s hope that enough other people feel the same as I do in order to kill these practices in the bud…