July 26, 2008

Why Do People Behave Like Jackasses Online?

Why Do People Behave Like Jackasses Online?

I won’t disclose the name of the person who did this, but here’s the chain of events:

  • Person registers for our Postmaster Direct service to receive targeted offers via email.  This is a closed-loop, double opt-in registration process (so the person had to register and then click on a confirmation email)
  • Person receives a handful of relevant, targeted offers from us
  • Person finds my name on our corporate web site and messages my wife on Facebook to tell her that her husband is a dirty spammer who needs to learn a lesson, and would she please make him and his company behave?
  • Person finds my blog and comments on it saying “don’t give return path any email addresses, they spam the crap out of you. I’ve already filed a complaint with the BBB. If this doesn’t work, I’ll have to use some unorthodox means of getting their attention.”  As if said person hadn’t already used unorthodox means of getting my attention
  • Person finds a few other blogs on which I am mentioned, and posts similar negative personal comments
  • I politely email Person back, asking him if he had tried to unsubscribe (which works) or contact our customer service email (which is manned and emptied out daily) or email me directly if he felt so inclined to remove himself from our database, remind him that we are double opt-in, and somewhat less gently tell him I thought he was out of bounds for messaging my wife on Facebook
  • Person emails back, much softer tone, says he never tried to unsubscribe because he’s never had success doing that in the past
  • I email back, ask for all his email addresses so I can add him to our suppression list
  • He emails back, tells me that he doesn’t want to stop getting our emails, he just wants them at his Hotmail account instead of his work (.gov) account

Perhaps sometimes the anonymity of a keyboard isn’t a good thing.

4 responses to “Why Do People Behave Like Jackasses Online?”

  1. Isaac Garcia says:

    What I find more surprising is how often the CEO or President of a company (almost doesn't matter what the size of the company) gets involved in daily dispute resolutions (My day tends to involve a few of these very often as well).

    I remember my wife worked for the President of a ~1,000 employee company (very successful company) and he took similar calls daily. It was usually the same profile of person/scenario where the person "demands to speak to the President of the company."

    In a similar vein, I recently spoke to the CEO of a $100mm+ company (and growing) and I asked him how he spends his day, etc. He laughed, sighed and said, "HR and dispute resolution……THAT is how I spend my day."

    We are trained and told that the CEO shouldn't get bogged down with too much administrative work (and we shouldn't…no doubt) but there tends to be a trend in successful companies that the CEOs continue to have a very close ear to the ground or strong and direct connections with their happy and unhappy customers.

  2. Spamfighter says:

    "Perhaps sometimes the anonymity of a keyboard isn't a good thing." It's the screen. it protects you, so the formerly bullied become bullies.

  3. DJ_Waldow says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. If you are going to be a jackass, at least own up to it, right? Some people just don't get it….

    Great post – thanks for sharing.

    dj at bronto

  4. PMJ says:

    Isaac, did you mean a CEO shouldn't get "blogged" down? Kidding, crazy story about the irate government worker (insert joke about tax dollars at work here…)