A short rant at eBay (and some Jedward love)

Dear eBay

Hi, how are you doing?  Oh, not well? 

Well yes, I kind of gathered that from the fact that at the beginning of the month you started to send me (no doubt as part of some sort of ‘lapsed customer re-engagement program’) an email EVERY SINGLE DAY…

….under the snappily titled ‘Daily Deals’.  Yeah, I spotted that they were daily.  Nice.



Every day.  Every single day, without me asking for them.  Thanks for that.

Just quickly, I thought I’d list down what actually may be wrong with this…

…partially for you, and other companies, to think about when looking at big email databases full of emails (including mine) and wondering what to do with it…

…and partially as a cathartic rant from a new dad who had five hours sleep last night and just needs to VENT.

1. It’s just spam

No matter what sort of relationship you’ve had with customers before, if you start emailing them more than they deem ‘socially necessary’, you take the ‘relationship’ and turn it into ‘advertising’. 

Which may be what you want to do.  But to the customer, it just becomes more spam clogging up their inbox. 

Use advertising as advertising, and use emails as the opportunity to start a conversation.

PS. There are Nigerian Princes who would consider sending you emails daily as overkill…

2. It’s not even targeted

I’ve used eBay a fair few times… I’m not any sort of power user, but there at least 25+ transactions that may give you a hint about the sorts of things I like.  Guitars, gadgets, and other random micselleany.

I imagine you have all this saved up against my profile, and could use it to target the ‘deals’ you show me a bit more cleverly.  Instead, the things you’ve told me that I can buy (and therefore think I may be interested in) include amongst other things…

5-1 Disney Hair Styler
WWE Smackdown 2010 for Xbox OR PS3
Stila Make-up set and bag
Mega Bloks Streetz Construction set
Jedward T-Shirt
Hannah Montana Sleepover pamper kit

I don’t know what I did in the past to persuade you that I was a Disney fixated, crossdressing wrestling fan who was supporting Jedward in this year’s X-Factor, but I’m now kind of worried.

Either that, or you’re just sending me a random list of shit that’s available to buy in eBay. 

Oh, it is the latter?  Phew.  I can’t let people know about my Jedward fandom…



…on which matter, now that we’re talking about it, I’d like to confirm that Jedward are the single most likely entity to save music…

…as it’s entirely possible that when they win X-Factor this year on charm and showmanship alone, it’ll bring every eccentric in the country out of the woodwork and into audtions, and next year’s competition and all those after it will simply resemble the clown school that the X-Factor actually is…

…which means people might actually having to look elsewhere to listen to music.  We can but hope, anyway.  Meanwhile, back to the point…


…ok, I exagerrate slightly.  It can be ended, as you helpfully point out near the top of the emails.  But rather than an instant ‘if you don’t want these emails, click and we’ll stop’, it instead has the following message:

“If you no longer wish to receive our Daily Deals emails, no problem,
just click here and you will be removed within 4 working days.”

Oh eBay, I worry about you for two reasons. 

Firstly, you’ve clearly got such awful automation in your system that if someone does click on the link, of of your guys at eBay has to manually look through the database and switch off the link.  There’s no other excuse for it taking four days.

Which means that secondly, if someone does think (like I did) that they really don’t want to get an email with two pointless offers every day, then they have to go through another four emails of something they clearly don’t like or want.  Which isn’t really a great way to make people like you.

So, eBay, please understand that yes, you were kinda fun and useful once, but now that you have taken to treating me to daily spam, I shall from hereon in have to reciprocate with growing indifference, annoyance, and an increasingly small likelihood to ever use you again. 

Kindest regards ‘n that


PS. Say hi to Boo.com when you see her…