Is your favorite blogger a dirty, rotten thief?
I recently commented on someone's blog for the first time. Within a few days I received a spammy promotional pitch from the blogger. I didn't sign up for his email list and I responded to the note, asking him to remove me from his list. His response? By commenting I was bound by his comment policy and agreed to opt into his newsletter.
I checked out his commenting policy and there was nothing that said by commenting I agreed to opt into mailings. Nothing. Was his response an intentional lie? Hmmm. I emailed him again and once more asked to be removed from his distribution list (since there was no way to remove myself). He said there was no list; it was a plug in. He went on to say I was the first person to ever complain about it.
I asked yet a third time to be removed from his distribution list. He finally said he'd "try" to remove me. Never, not once, apologizing for the situation. Did he really think forcing me to be on his list was winning me over? Is it smart to make someone ask three times to be removed from your list? Is that the way to create meaningful online relationships? As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Spammy McUnethical stole my email address and used it without my permission. Dirty, rotten thief.
Those of us who have blogs are sometimes privy to people's email addresses. Depending on the commenting system and the way a commenter chooses to log in to comment, email addresses may be visible to the blog owner. I've seen many of my commenters' email addresses when they leave comments and, you know what? I don't collect them, sell them, or do anything unethical with them. I delete them. It's someone's private information and I take that seriously. My mama didn't raise a thief.
But, apparently, some bloggers out there are a little fast and loose with your private information. Beware. And, most of all, don't put up with it. If someone betrays your trust, move on. If you condone their lapse in ethics, you enable them to continue. Data theft is no different than property theft.
What do you think? Even if it was in the commenting policy (which is was not), does that mean a person can never ask to be removed from someone's distribution list? Isn't the whole point of having email lists to help strengthen the bond with your community, not alienate it? Is it alright for a blogger to use your personal information any way they choose? Have you ever been the victim of data theft?