No, not the curiously compressed and rectangular meat-based foodstuff, we mean unsolicited emails. How many times a day are you bombarded with emails from companies you either:
- No longer want to receive emails from?
- Or worse still, can’t remember giving your details to in the first place?
And it doesn’t matter whether the email is malicious or not, any email that you don’t want is an interference to your day. Not only that, but how often is the ‘unsubscribe’ link hidden at the bottom amongst a paragraph of other text, and in a font and colour that makes it difficult to find (and read)? Of course – and rather frustratingly – sometimes the unsubscribe is missing entirely!
The GDP what?
Well, dealing with these frustrations, in essence, is one of the broad aims of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). It’s a very hot topic, and you’ll hear more and more about it as the 25th May 2018 deadline approaches. The regulations are long and detailed, but the basic aims of GDPR are fairly straightforward, and they aim to minimise the spam we all receive:
- After 25th May companies will no longer be able to subscribe you to a generic ‘mailing list’. After it comes into force, companies will need to make it clear exactly what you are signing up to receive, and you can’t then be added to other mailing lists without your express permission
- Companies will need to keep records of when and where you signed up, and what you signed up to
- The laws cover any data that identifies an individual, and all data will need to be stored securely
- You have the right to request information about what data a company holds on you
- Unsubscribe links can no longer be hidden at the bottom of emails, they need to be prominent and clear. Neither can they use confusing, convoluted text to trick you into opting in
Trying to do the right thing
There are worries that this will be especially onerous for small businesses. However, in essence, we think we all need to look at it from the other end: no one likes getting spam, and these guidelines will make it easier to impose higher fines on the worst abusers of the regulations and seek to reduce the spam we all get. Surely that is a good thing?
At Pixooma we’re taking a proactive approach and embracing GDPR in a timely manner, as we believe it’s the right thing to do. However, by re-seeking permission from everyone in our database and requesting them to actively opt-in, it’s possible we’ll lose around 80% of our subscribers! Why? Well simply because no longer does ‘not opted-out‘ mean ‘opted-in‘. Everyone has to actively sign-up and because people will forget, not read the email, or just not realise what they need to do, mailing lists will be slashed to a fraction of their former selves. But so what? We’re still able to contact our customers as part of the work we do for them (and for any service messages we may need to send them), and whatever subscribers are left are fully-engaged and willing to receive our marketing emails – which is what we want. Afterall if the rest of the list weren’t interested in what we had to say then they wouldn’t be likely to act in relation to anything we send them anyway. So why send them emails they don’t want?
Giving our subscribers complete control
We’re creating a personalised dashboard for every subscriber so that they have complete control of what they receive. This will mean that they can sign up for, unsubscribe from, and switch to different mailing list subjects whenever they like. Also, the records will be live and up to date for anyone that requests them. This covers a lot of the broad aims of GDPR as listed above, but we are going to be continually accessing how we control data so that we comply as fully as possible, at all times. So if you receive an email from us in the coming weeks please follow the link and sign-up if you want to receive useful hints and tips from us in 2018 and beyond, as otherwise, we’ll need to remove you from our list.
We’re not taking the easy route
There are already data protection regulations and a fine structure in place today and plenty of companies still flout the rules. After May, no doubt many companies will ignore the regulations and continue to spam their mailing lists as they did before (even after they get fined perhaps) but we don’t think that’s the point. This is not about following the herd and doing what others are doing or taking the easy route. This is an opportunity for Pixooma to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate our integrity and our principles. We don’t do things because we can ‘get away with them’, we do what is right and what we would want other companies to do with our data. Are all the companies you deal with being as proactive with GDPR?
Sign up for your personalised dashboard
If you’d like to get regular hints, tips, blogs and advice to help you with your business then simply sign up here to request a link to your new personalised dashboard. With it you’ll have complete control of what you receive, meaning nothing we send you will be unsolicited spam… and that is surely the point, nobody likes spam do they?