Because I’ve been blogging for some time now, my contact details have been picked up by various PR agencies so I now get at least one, if not several emails every day with press releases. I wrote about it last year, but I’m going to focus on two companies that are probably worse than the others – Vocus, and Cision.
Before I start, I’d like to point out that Vocus has removed my email address from its systems, as far as I can tell, but Cision hasn’t. And the problem is that there’s no simple way to unsubscribe from all emails from these companies, even though I’m an individual, not a company, and what these companies are doing is probably in violation of the CAN-SPAM legislation. Yes, I am accusing Cision of allegedly spamming me, as they are sending me unsolicited commercial messages without my prior permission and there’s no way to unsubscribe from all of their messages – this, in my opinion, is spam.
Sure, there is an opt-out link at the bottom of each message, but that just opts you out of further messages from that company’s client. So, say Mike’s Widget Company sends out a press release via Cision, I can opt out of future messages from Mike’s Widget Company but not messages from any of Cision’s other clients. Or at least, that’s the theory – I’ve had a press release from the European Network and Information Security Agency today via Cision and I’m pretty sure I’ve opted out from them before, in which case, every time I’ve opted out it’s apparently been for nought. I have no interest in what ENISA does, or, for that matter, any of the clients that have contacted me via Cision.
Naturally I’m not the only one in this situation – I’ve found blog posts at MotiveLab and one by David Rothman, who gives the contact details of someone at Cision to contact, which I’ll be doing. But I shouldn’t have to – surely Cision should know that anyone with a .me.uk domain is an individual and that they’re probably breaking the law by automatically opting in such an email address with no way of that individual opting out. They only have to check this domain’s WHOIS information to see it’s registered by an individual, and not a company.
Cision is not the only company that does this – Karen Thomas PR is another company that has ignored multiple emails from me to opt out and is now blocked on my mail server. But a big company like Cision should know better, especially one that should be getting good PR for its clients, not bad.