In one form or another, I’ve been in the marketing industry for quite a while so I get the goal of getting a product or service in front of as many eyeballs as possible. But it’s not just about exposure – the vibe people feel about your particular offering is an important part of the mix. Generally speaking, advertising is supposed to give an audience a ‘warm and fuzzy’ about your company, service or product, (in fact, creating logos for those advertisements is why our humble shop is around). But what about when your advertising annoys the hell out of anyone that might remotely be interested in what you’re pitching? Wouldn’t that be the polar opposite of effective marketing and advertising?
Which brings us to the Friday afternoon rant -
Faxtarget burns up our FAX machine. And paper. And toner.
E-mail spam is bad enough (one of our old studio accounts receives over 40,000 spams a month) but my cause de jour is an increasing amount of FAX Spam (euphimistically referred to as FAX Broadcasting) – unsolicited advertisements sent to FAX machines – pitching everything from insurance and accounting services, mortgage scams, landscaping companies and (irony warning) discount FAX toner and paper. While The USA made Junk Fax sorta illegal in 1991 and then overhauled the laws in 2005 (some might argue loosened), Canadian law is a lot less restrictive (an attempt to tighten up the laws died on the vine a few years ago thanks to lobbying by Canadian marketing company organizations and telelmarketers).
So, what’s a FAX spammer to do when spamming the USA market can net hefty fines – hey, why not move north and pester folks from the relative safety of the 49th parallel. Lovely. So now our tired Brother machine is bombarded with unwanted FAXes on a regular basis from Canadian based FAX spammers who think it’s just peachy to use our phone line (including a 1-800 number), our FAX machine, paper and toner to advertise companies that we have no interest in engaging.
I’ve called the automated cancel numbers numerous times (as per CRTC regulations, FAX spammers get a free 7 day window where they are legally allowed to continue sending FAX spams for seven days AFTER you’ve requested to be removed), sent nastigrams via e-mail, and tried to get a hold of a live body by phone (despite touting that telecommunication is the best thing since sliced bread, these folks make it really difficult to telecommunicate with them). One company I’m having a helluva time with is FaxTarget Communications, a Toronto based FAX ‘Broadcaster’ who’s been flooding my FAX line for weeks now. Let’s take a look at the sarcasm-drenched disclaimer on their website -
“Apparently some conspiracy theorists believe that we do not wish to remove numbers that are called in for removal. This is not true. Our clients wish to reach profitable, successful businesses that are not concerned about a few pennies of paper and ink. If your business cannot afford a few pennies, it is unlikely that our clients will be able to sell you anything. Therefore, those that wish to be removed need only ask once. We do not need an involved explanation. All we need is the number”.
Love the snark – if I don’t want this lot tying up my FAX machine, using my paper and my toner, then I’m some sort of conspiracy-embracing vagrant who shouldn’t be in business anyway?
Okay, I’m paranoid and penniless – so take my number off your list.
Alas, that part of the equation ain’t so easy. I’ve called their removal number (4 times now) and even after the seven day window, FAXes still keep pouring in. I’ve pretended to be a client interested in their services, in order to get a call back, and wrangled a promise out of the ‘customer care’ rep that my number would be removed immediately and that I’d never, ever get another FAX. And still they come. I’ve complained to Bell Canada, who are limited in what they can do, but who helpfully called the good folks at FaxTarget Communications and requested that they remove my number. All to no avail (in fact, 1 hour after Bell had gone to bat on my behalf, more FAXes hit our machine, apparently a ‘screw you’ for having the audacity to complain in the first place).
So now, it’s war. Every time anyone of these FAX spammers sends my studio machine an unwanted FAX, I’m going to send the very same FAX, plus all the FAXes from whatever company is responsible, back to the originating machine. I’ll also contact whatever company is being advertised and tell them exactly what I think of their lovely marketing campaign and the chances of me ‘buying’ their services.
Exactly nil. Zero Zilch.
This isn’t targeted marketing. It ain’t cool advertising. It’s spam using telephone lines as opposed to internet pipes. While I may sound like the crazy old dude at the end of the lane who’s always telling the kiddies to “get offa me lawn”, this stuff really gets under my skin.
And a boy’s gotta have some hobbies…
- Another 539 reasons why I hate spam…
- G-Mail makes an awesome Spam filter – part deux
- Spam blocker – why have you forsaken me
- Damn logo spam!!!
- G-mail makes an awesome Spam filter