The Reply all Function is one of the most powerful, dangerous, and easiest functions to use.
This morning I woke up to a long series of non-stop emails with the same topic. Many were responding back to Federated Media Inc because they sent a reply all to their mailing list.
After scrolling down through hundreds of emails, I finally got to the start of the initial email .
Mismanaged List or Group
It appeared as if Federated Media has us in an email group and replied to that group instead of the intended recipient.
While scrolling, some familiar names like Guy Kawasaki appeared. Guy responded to the many to delete and not reply because they were making it worse. But many more after him, some in a grumpy state, kept on adding to the problem.
Update:In the email sent out Federated Media confirmed they were using an Alias. My question is why an Alias and not a proper email management system?
— Victoria Cheng (@victoriacheng) February 17, 2015
How do they Manage Their Mailing list?
I am not 100% sure of what caused the reply all mishap but in many places, I see companies using their email manager to manage their email lists.
For a short amount of time when I started my new business, I thought it was the cheapest route to take. It really was cheap and time consuming.
Thankfully, I never made the mistake of exposing my list as Federated Media did last night. I did waste a lot of time organizing my emails to go out in batches when a software like Mailchimp can do that for you.
The issue I see with Federated Media mishap is that some of us, have a distant relationship with the organization. My last interaction with them was about 5 years ago to one of their events in New York City. On many occasions I have emailed them back on certain topics and have never gotten a response.
I am not sure why I was still subscribed to their mailing list. With this mistake, I want to unsubscribe immediately.
Opening their Subscribers for More Spam
I only hope that those who got the reply all message are honest and don’t attempt other spam tactics.
Federated Media has a vast list of interesting folks. Some of them you might be able to chat with via the hashtag #federatedmediareplyall2015. It would be a pain in the butt if a few start adding us to their mailing lists and thinking it’s a good idea.
I highly discourage anyone from taking the spammy route. I can guarantee you will be seen as a bottom feeder waiting to exploit any opportunity. So I recommend you delete the previous message like some recommended and you move on.
People Forget Quickly
I imagine Federated Media will recover from such a tiny mistake. Everything in the internet has a short time span. People will move onto the next interesting topic on the internets.
With my IT security background, it makes me think of many ways they might have been cutting corners.
Some security issues such as who has access to their lists and their management, to using the wrong tools to communicate. You would expect better from a well known media company.
Make sure your Mailing List Process is a Healthy One
Newsletter management is something people think is easy but there is a whole science behind it. Make sure you look at your process every once in a while and seek to improve it. Even if you are a professional, have someone from the outside make an assessment and some recommendations.
That science is there to bring you value and protect you and your company from similar incidents.
I know and hope Federated Media recovers rapidly from the mishap.
What is your take on their hiccup?