The Washington Times - December 21, 2007, 07:24PM
Mr. Robert W. Bly DM News SEE RELATED:

The\ Copywriter’s Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells

\ In short, he knows direct marketing, even the electronic kind. But knowledge without action can lead to problems, as Mr. Bly revealed in an e-mail to the many thousands of people on his e-mail list:\


Did you get a weird e-mail from me recently?\

\ Earlier this week, some of my subscribers received an e-mail — supposedly from me — with the headline: “FREE $97 Value Report On Where To Advertise For Maximum Profit.”\

\ Quite a few of your e-mailed me inquiring whether it was legitimate and really from me — or a fake.\

\ It was a fake. And not from me.\

\ Here’s how it happened — and why it’s highly unlikely that it will ever happen again … \

\ The e-mail distribution software I used to use has a feature that allows anyone on the list to e-mail to the list.\

\ Of course, as the list owner, I could — and did — keep that feature locked.\

\ But during the week, we switched maintenance of our subscriber list to a different server.\

\ In the switching process, the list accidentally became unlocked — and\ someone posted to it.\

\ Of course, we have relocked it … and this should not happen again.\

\ We are also switching to a different e-mail distribution software package that does not have this sharing feature — making it even more difficult for a dishonest person to tamper with us.

\ Mr. Bly spoke the truth: little hinges swing — or in this case, unlock — big doors. By not locking down his e-mail list server, he got into a bit of trouble. He’s fixed it, apologized, and even offered his readers a little bonus for taking the time to reaffirm their desire to hear from him.\

\ For any of us who maintain or work with electronic mailing lists, Mr. Bly’s experience holds a cautionary lession: make sure you’ve got your stuff nailed down, and double-check every time you change something in your routine. If it’s a headache for Mr. Bly, imagine the blowback a federal agency might get for a similar, albeit human, mistake.\

\ My thanks to Mr. Bly for permission to share his name and the\ details of his story. I offered him the option of anonymity, and he\ was kind enough to allow his name to be used.\

\ — Mark Kellner, The Washington Times