Anyone who has touched the internet since the mid-1990’s has had the privilege of dealing with spam (unsolicited) email. In the early days of the internet, spam was not very creative and consisted mostly of unwanted email messages advertising genital enhancement creams amid thousands of Nigerian princes that wanted to share fortunes with unsuspecting users…as long as those users were willing to give out their bank account information as a show of good faith. Some people fell for the scams while most ignored them; now they are the stuff of internet folklore and meme culture.
Spam has evolved over the years and has taken on an increasingly sinister role across the web with scammers working feverishly to replicate legitimate bank websites and other utilities as a means of tricking users into giving their personal information away. For those of us who run web servers or are involved in web development of any kind, much of the spam we receive comes from countless little startup design companies and individuals looking to capitalize on the registration of a new domain by flooding the registrar’s inbox and phone with offers to design logos, build websites, or take over control, hosting, and management of the domain from the new user. This frustrates me because despite the fact that some of these offers might come from legitimate businesses, it is obvious that the solicitations are automated and completely devoid of any true connection or intent to form a true partnership for the benefit of the client. Typically I ignore the calls and emails, block the senders, and just forget about the messages altogether.
Despite this, a message came for me a few weeks ago from someone claiming to work for a company called Cloudwards.net, which appears to rate and review cloud hosting companies. Something about the message bothered me, so I decided to do a little research on the sender. I wanted to know:
- Was the sender a real person who was reaching out to me? If so, how could someone with such poor communication skills be tasked with reaching out to customers?
- Was this just an automated message designed to phish my email? If so, I would play into it for as long as I could without getting myself into too much trouble.
Once I knew that the person identified as Laura in the message was real, I decided to send her a response to see if she would actually take me up on my offer or if my message would get lost in the void of corporate spam bots. What follows might not be polite or friendly, but I do not think it is polite or friendly to spam people’s inboxes with crap spam messages. The original message will be displayed in block text with my responses below each section. So, here we go…
Thank you for contacting me about your interest in the content at CampfireChess.com. Typically, a message like this would be relegated to my junk folder along with the countless other offers for logo design, website design, and unbeatable hosting options I receive from countless startups each day. However, the almost human structure caught my attention and therefore prompted this response. I am, however, at a loss considering that you are the harbinger of one of two realities:
1) You are a real person with no depth of understanding of the nature of human connections and one who believes that simple cordiality will suffice to establish a network relationship.
2) You are not the true Laura Schultz as listed on the Cloudwards website staff section, but are instead a highly sophisticated email robot designed to mimic a human for advertising.
Given that the message contains only a single spelling error (mejor vs. major), I am going to assume that you are a real person and that it was a true attempt to establish some sort of link exchange to support reviews of the Dropbox service as you suggest. Yet, there are some striking issues with your message that I believe warrant addressing. So, I thought it would be fun to go through it line by line to help you establish a real connection with a real person next time:
Hey Wesley –
I hope everything is going well on your end :)
Hey Laura! ;) No idea who you are, but this seems like an excellent way to open a professional message with a new client! And as for things going well on my end…I can say that I am as regular as ever. Thank you for asking! wink wink.
My name is Laura, and I’m on the content team at Cloudwards.
Ah yes, I…have never heard of you or your company. So, like the curious person I am, I decided to Google your company and discovered that you are in fact, a real person listed on the company’s homepage. I also noted some negative reviews online of your company related to its objectivity and truthfulness of reviews, but we can address that later.
I just finished going through your article here: http://www.campfirechess.com/tags/chessbase/. Thanks for the resource!
To be honest, Laura, this line makes the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up! I am so glad that you found the list of articles related to Chessbase on Campfire Chess to be a helpful resource for cloud services when Chessbase is compared to Dropbox and OneDrive in passing. If the single mention of these keywords on an amateur chess blog suffices as a proper resource for your company, then I advise your company to shut its doors and go home because you can do so much better out there, girl!
My colleague Joseph recently put together a pretty comprehensive piece about Dropbox and three mejor compatitors for secure Cloud Storage.There is a ton of information out there; our guide was designed to cut through the noise a bit. You can see Goods and Bads about Dropbox and why you should use those 3 Dropbox competitors.
The post is here: https://www.cloudwards.net/dropbox-competitors/
The next two paragraphs include the only misspelling in your message; note the incorrect MEJOR instead of MAJOR. If you are not a robot, please spell check your messages in the future before sending them! Additionally, I am not sure why I should even considering linking to your colleague’s article. What benefit does his article provide to my readers that is not already available in the original articles? As a Reverend and an amateur chess writer, I am not in the business of helping people select the best cloud storage service for their memes and junk videos. I prefer to help people find the best “cloud” storage option for their eternal soul through Jesus, but I digress. ;)
Would you consider linking to it in the article of yours I mentioned above? I saw you linked to Dropbox in there, so I figured I’d see if you’d link to mine as well. Perhaps your visitors find it helpful, but hey, it’s up to you.
Absolutely not, but hey, its up to me…as you say. You saw that I linked to Dropbox in my article, which was a reason that I suspected you were not a real girl in the first place. Keywords are the hallmark of spam email servers.
P.S. I respect the relationship you have with your readers, I wouldn’t ask you to link to anything I didn’t think was an excellent resource for you guys.
Thanks, Laura, but I am going to pass on the “offer”. If you truly respected the relationship I have with my readers then you would understand that that relationship is founded on trust built over years of hard work. You speak in your message as though you and I have a relationship where I have earned your enduring trust, but I have absolutely no clue who you are! My readers are well aware of who I am and expect a certain level of quality and honesty from my work. If you think your website is truly a resource that could benefit my readers, then become a regular Campfire Chess reader, pick up a chess board the next time you head out to Starbucks, and get to know the community that Campfire Chess knows and loves! You will find that it is far more than the simple Dropbox link picked up by the Cloudwards spiders.
Thank you for your message and I close in the hopes that you are real in the sense that this message was not sent to me by an automated system so that you may gain some insight into the importance of establishing a real relationship with people before attempting to sell your product or service.
Rev. Wesley A. Surber, M.Div.
CEO, Nukaware, LLC. – http://www.nukaware.us
Companies browsing my site for potential customers, Please do not send me or any of my readers spam offers for logo design, website design, or other useless stuff. If we want your services, we will find you. Otherwise, you are wasting our time because most of you are not even willing to show your customers the respect they deserve by reaching out to them with a real person and not a computer.
Laura never answered me back…