Angie’s List spam

Sending abandoned cart e-mails is par for the course. I just got one from Pottery Barn about a dining set I’d put in my cart, but decided not to buy after seeing it in the store. Those e-mails are a smart, cost-effective way for companies to try to convert looky-loos into purchasers.

But, like all good things, there can be too much. In the case of Angie’s List, WAY too much.

The backstory: In early August 2012, I was looking for painters for my parents’ house in Seattle and had seen commercials for Angie’s List (hard to miss them, eh!) and thought I’d give it a go. Only once I got into the sign-up process did I realize that accessing the customer reviews requires a paid monthly membership. I bailed and immediately started getting abandoned cart e-mails offering me discounted membership.

The first one offered 25% off. Four days later, the subject was “Oops! We meant to give you a bigger discount” and offered 40% off. All subsequent offers have been for 40% off. At first, I found the frequency of the e-mails amusing and wondered how deeply they’d discount in an attempt to get me to join. That curiosity, combined with increasing annoyance as the spam piled up, led me to dump them all in a folder with the thought of writing this blog post one day. It has been 11 months and that folder contains 42 e-mails:

Attack of the abandoned cart e-mails ... they just keep coming!

Attack of the abandoned cart e-mails … they just keep coming!

Although I found the subject lines somewhat hilarious, finally, the annoyance grew too great and I unsubscribed. Here was the unsubscribe page:

Holy moly! I didn't want or agree to receive any of these.

Holy moly! I didn’t want or agree to receive any of these.

Overkill, Angie? Yes. Unsubscribe from ALL correspondence? Hell yes and good riddance.

Morals of the story:

  • Don’t advertise like you’re offering a free service and later surprise potential customers with membership fees.
  • Don’t spam. Ever. And don’t use abandoned carts as an invitation to sign people up for every e-mail list you have.
  • And … as a customer, use Yelp! instead. It’s free and awesome and never spams.
  • And … if you want something at a discount, try abandoning the sign-up process or leaving something in your cart for a few days to see if you’re lack of interest will spur theirs (kinda like with dating – ha!).
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