Zorba the Hutt (zorbathut) wrote,
Zorba the Hutt

a thought about spam

A few months ago I got a phone call.

It was an agency apparently hired by my health insurance company. They wanted to know what I'd thought about their service. They wanted to ask a few questions. Okay. I'm fine with that. You can't improve a service without feedback, of course.

Fifty or so questions later, they were finally done. I only stayed on because I was making food and wanted to see how many questions "a few questions" was. It was a lot. I got the interviewer to laugh a few times though, which I'm pretty sure she wasn't supposed to do. I think the only reason they used a person rather than a machine was because people are less likely to hang up on a person.

A few days later they called again, this time for my credit card company. I was busy, so I said I wasn't interested.

A few days later they called again. I considered answering questions, but I kind of wanted to go play computer games, and didn't want another barrage of fifty questions, so I said I wasn't interested.

A few days later they called again. I was in the middle of talking online so I said I wasn't interested.

A few days later they called again. I thought about it, then told them to put me on their do-not-call list.

I haven't heard from them since.

If they'd asked me fewer questions in the first place - say, five or so - I probably wouldn't have minded so much, and would have answered more sets. Information is important, of course. If they hadn't called me so often I probably wouldn't have told them to go away. But they did - they requested far more than I was willing to provide - and so they lost a free source of valuable data.

The same thing happened with spam and with ads. I'm willing to see a few ads on a webpage, but when I have a webpage filled with bouncing flashing advertisements I start disabling them. I'll delete a few spam mails, and once or twice I've gotten emails from companies I've bought from before, advertising what are honestly good deals. But I get too much spam now and a lot of companies mail me far too often with things that aren't interesting enough. So I disable them.

More is not always better. Quality over quantity. That's why things like woot.com do well - because they're dedicated to quality, not quantity.
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