Is It OK to Add People to Your Email List After They Give You a Business Card?

61 replies
When I went to a networking event a few weeks ago, there was a home party candle person standing by the front door, accosting everyone for their business card.

Sure enough--the next week I started getting her emails.

It drives me batty when people do this. (But it's not just network marketers--it seems to happen with all types of businesses.) IMO, just because I give you my business card does NOT mean you have my permission to just add me to your email list. Yes, I can unsubscribe but that's not the point.

The point is I didn't say you could add me. I could be giving you my card for many reasons, including the simple fact that it would be rude to say no.

If you send me an invitation to join your list afterward, that's fine. That, I don't mind. But don't just add me without asking.

Now, if I leave my card in a fishbowl for a drawing at a trade show or whatnot, I expect they're going to add me to their list. I might hope they don't, but I don't feel I can complain. Because basically, the company asked me to give them my card for the chance to win--in my book, thats not much different from responding to an offer on a squeeze page.

Believe me, I get the point of building your list. But I don't want to get spammed by every person I give my card to! And I don't think a bunch of ticked off people would make a good list either.

Is it just me, or is it tacky and annoying to just add people to your list because they gave you a business card?

And is there a good way to head this off at the pass, besides pretending you don't have any cards on you? (Which won't work so well if there's someone you DO want to give your card too!)
#add #business #business cards #card #confirmed optin #email #email list #give #list #list building #networking #people
  • Profile picture of the author Coby
    No, this is clearly against the TOS of most AR companies...

    Unless, like you said YOU know you will be getting emails, like the fishbowl idea...

    I also agree with you that this wouldn't be a very "responsive" list...

    These marketers are obviously desperate and grasping for anything. I think the more professional approach for them would be for them to send you an email introducing themselves and maybe offering a freebie in exchange for the ability to email you again rather than just adding and spamming.

    Good Luck
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    • Profile picture of the author EJ Lear
      Originally Posted by Coby View Post

      No, this is clearly against the TOS of most AR companies...
      Hi Folks,

      Actually I spoke on the phone personally with 3 email services last week regarding this specific issue:

      -Aweber
      -GetResponse
      -ConstantContact

      All 3 of them said the same thing "this is what we consider a clean list and it would have no problem going through our compliance department".

      A friend of mine gathers leads at Trade Shows through his booth and wanted to know about this issue, I told them the details and all 3 of them said that there were no problems.

      In the end we went with ConstantContact but that's neither here nor there. ;-)

      Hope this helps!

      Peace,
      EJ Lear
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      • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
        Originally Posted by EJ Lear View Post

        Hi Folks,

        Actually I spoke on the phone personally with 3 email services last week regarding this specific issue:

        -Aweber
        -GetResponse
        -ConstantContact

        All 3 of them said the same thing "this is what we consider a clean list and it would have no problem going through our compliance department".

        A friend of mine gathers leads at Trade Shows through his booth and wanted to know about this issue, I told them the details and all 3 of them said that there were no problems.

        In the end we went with ConstantContact but that's neither here nor there. ;-)

        Hope this helps!

        Peace,
        EJ Lear
        Really? Now that's interesting to hear. I know the rules are more lenient for B2B than B2C, so maybe that's why. Still, I bet Aweber wants them to confirm the opt-in.

        The 2 things no one else seems to be able to beat Aweber at are the automation (adding people automatically to a second list when they sign up for one list) and the stats reporting.

        So for the moment, I'm staying there til I can swing Confusionsoft. LOL (Infusionsoft for those who aren't familiar!)
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  • Profile picture of the author Willie Crawford
    Hi Tracy,

    How's the pollen there in Raleigh. I use to get pretty
    bad when I was a student at NCSU.

    Anyway, I go to a lot of local networking meetings here in
    Florida, and about 10% of the people that I meet DO end up
    adding me to some type of email list. These are small business
    owners that I'm trying to establish a relationship with, so I
    don't generally mind.

    We've sort of given each other permission to network with
    each other.

    At the same time, I would only expect someone that I'd actually
    interacted with to do this.

    Some have also added me to direct mail lists, and I do get
    catalogs, etc. in the mail. I think that we all see that as a
    part of why we are networking.

    On the other hand, I have over 2000 business cards that I've
    collected over the years from internet marketing seminars and
    gatherings. I don't think that I've ever added any of those
    people to a list without explicitly asking them.

    It IS a common practice for seminar speakers to ask audience
    members to pass their business cards to the aisle right during
    a presentation, and aides do collect them... we assume that
    those speakers are building their databases.

    So my answer is that I consider it ok if that is the general
    expectation set by the person collecting the cards.

    Willie
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    • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
      Originally Posted by Willie Crawford View Post

      Hi Tracy,

      How's the pollen there in Raleigh. I use to get pretty
      bad when I was a student at NCSU.
      Hey Willie--you coming back for the big event again? Yes, my allergies have been killing me. I found out after moving here too that the thing I'm most allergic to is oak trees. Perfect, huh? Especially given Raleigh's nickname...


      Originally Posted by Willie Crawford View Post

      It IS a common practice for seminar speakers to ask audience members to pass their business cards to the aisle right during a presentation, and aides do collect them... we assume that
      those speakers are building their databases.
      Agreed. Although I usually tell people to put on the back "no list" if they're not interested. No one's actually done it yet, but I feel it's only fair to give them that choice.

      And because I use Aweber, they still have to confirm anyway.
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      • Profile picture of the author Willie Crawford
        Originally Posted by TracyNeedham View Post

        Hey Willie--you coming back for the big event again? Yes, my allergies have been killing me. I found out after moving here too that the thing I'm most allergic to is oak trees. Perfect, huh? Especially given Raleigh's nickname...
        Hi Tracy, I'm afraid I can't make this years gathering in Raleigh.
        I'll be at one that I'm co-hosing on the beach near my house here
        in Florida... very informal but one that we've been planning for a
        while.




        Agreed. Although I usually tell people to put on the back "no list" if they're not interested. No one's actually done it yet, but I feel it's only fair to give them that choice.

        And because I use Aweber, they still have to confirm anyway.
        I do most of my networking with the local chamber of commerce
        groups, or at local Glazer-Kennedy Insiders Circle meetings. These
        people show up after running their businesses all day and often spend
        2-3 hours networking with fellow business owners. Their time is so
        tight that they are sort of speed networking and WANT the right people
        to follow-up with them.

        I was introduced as one of the internet experts, and after telling them
        that I had maxed out of Facebook Friends and had built lists of over
        1 million, and could help them to get more leads via the internet, my
        biggest problem was fitting in all of the follow-up meetings that people
        wanted to set up.

        I get lots of free lunches as I discuss things with potential clients.

        I haven't had anyone add me to an email newsletter where I didn't know
        the person, and hadn't infact discussed their businesses.

        Many of them have gone out of their way to subsccribe to my ezine, but
        I WOULD feel comfortable adding any of them that gave me business cards
        to my list. I haven't but I do think that I have implicit permission.

        I perfer following up with direct mail (letters, greeting cards, and
        even gifts). Part of my chamber membership allows me to send mailings
        to the entire chamber database using the chambers bulk mailing permit
        if I want to. They will also do "email blasts" for members... they
        essentially sell solo mailings :-)

        So, it is a very different environment, but we sort of expect to be
        followed up with by mail, email and or phone when we give out our
        business cards.

        I have developed the ability to tell someone fairly quickly that I'm not
        looking for a new business opportunity :-)


        on Aweber, unless I'm mistaken, there was a time when you COULD turn
        off the requirement to opt-in to a list. I haven't looked at that
        lately but do have list on Aweber and 1SC.

        Willie
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        • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
          Originally Posted by Willie Crawford View Post

          Hi Tracy, I'm afraid I can't make this years gathering in Raleigh.
          I'll be at one that I'm co-hosing on the beach near my house here
          in Florida... very informal but one that we've been planning for a
          while.
          Aww, that's too bad. Maybe next time!


          Originally Posted by Willie Crawford View Post

          I do most of my networking with the local chamber of commerce
          groups, or at local Glazer-Kennedy Insiders Circle meetings. These
          people show up after running their businesses all day and often spend
          2-3 hours networking with fellow business owners. Their time is so
          tight that they are sort of speed networking and WANT the right people
          to follow-up with them.
          I'm so bummed, our GKIC meetings here seem to have gone defunct. That used to be my best networking opportunity. And its funny, but I would expect them to add me to lists and probably wouldn't mind, precisely because I would like to build more a relationship with most of them. But I don't think a single person there has.

          I do try to send mailed notes. In fact, there are a few I need to send right now, come to think of it...

          Originally Posted by Willie Crawford View Post

          on Aweber, unless I'm mistaken, there was a time when you COULD turn
          off the requirement to opt-in to a list. I haven't looked at that
          lately but do have list on Aweber and 1SC.
          I think I can still set up an actual webform somewhere, set that to single opt-in, then enter them individually into the form. People keep telling me no, but I was able to do that a year or so ago and I noticed I had the single opt-in choice when I set up my last web form. That may be how I do it.

          Hadn't even thought of adding them to 1SC though! Except, I'm thinking about moving away from 1SC. I just think it's ridiculous they want $99 a month to have the version with the affiliate option. I was going to check out some of these WP plugins as alternatives.

          Thanks for such a great discussion!
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  • Profile picture of the author Henry White
    Any way you try to rationalize it, it's still spamming.

    You should have your URL on your business card, of course, and you should invite people to your website and to join your list - but it's up to them, not you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
      Originally Posted by hwhite View Post

      Any way you try to rationalize it, it's still spamming.

      You should have your URL on your business card, of course, and you should invite people to your website and to join your list - but it's up to them, not you.
      I couldn't agree with that more!

      I wouldn't mind meeting someone and having them send a personal email that said "nice to meet you - and you might be interested in my free guide and newsletter which you can sign up for at ...." but adding me to a list without my permission would definitely not win you any points in my book.

      I don't know if there's a really good way to head this off at the pass, but I might send them a short email to ask to be removed from the list and let them know you view it as spam.

      I suppose if someone sent some valuable info and not just a regular sales pitch in their newsletter I might go a little easier on them, but if all they're doing is sending you promotional pitches via their "newsletter", that would tick me off.

      Cheers,

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
        Originally Posted by Coby View Post

        No, this is clearly against the TOS of most AR companies...
        Yeah I have to admit, one of my first thoughts was that they must not have Aweber! But like you said, all of the AR companies want you to have some kind of OK first.

        I guess it's just desperation marketing.

        Originally Posted by myob View Post

        I really don't have a problem with someone adding me to their list. That means I can add them to mine, LOL!
        Very true! Hadn't thought about it doing that. LOL. Still, I have a feeling they wouldn't be very good prospects for me.

        And yes, I'm not a big fan of the "having to get a card from everyone" thing. I think you should get a card when you have a reason to get the card. (Reason which is not merely to spam you!)
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        • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
          Originally Posted by TracyNeedham View Post

          I guess it's just desperation marketing.
          It's more likely ignorance marketing.

          Whenever I collect a business card, I add it to my CRM database. That way, I have people's information readily available.

          Most CRM databases will let you mass-mail your contacts. I don't do that, but there's a handy little option on the menu if I ever decide I should.

          All it takes is a lack of one minor ethical point (thou shalt not mail without express permission), and a very good business practice becomes a very bad business practice.

          My business cards have my URL and phone number on them. If I were annoyed at the number of lists I end up on, I could just take my email address off them and let people use the contact form on my web site.
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          • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

            It's more likely ignorance marketing.

            snip

            All it takes is a lack of one minor ethical point (thou shalt not mail without express permission), and a very good business practice becomes a very bad business practice.

            My business cards have my URL and phone number on them. If I were annoyed at the number of lists I end up on, I could just take my email address off them and let people use the contact form on my web site.
            True, it may be ignorance instead of desperation, although I think they're desperate to build a list. It could also be blatant disregardism. LOL

            Agreed about the lack of one minor ethical point.

            I would never rely on just a contact form though. People hate them and the slightest internet wind seems to break them. At this point, it's not so overwhelming that I'd need to take that kind of extreme measure. (Thank God!)
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      • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
        Originally Posted by Steve Solem View Post

        I couldn't agree with that more!

        I wouldn't mind meeting someone and having them send a personal email that said "nice to meet you - and you might be interested in my free guide and newsletter which you can sign up for at ...." but adding me to a list without my permission would definitely not win you any points in my book.

        I don't know if there's a really good way to head this off at the pass, but I might send them a short email to ask to be removed from the list and let them know you view it as spam.

        I suppose if someone sent some valuable info and not just a regular sales pitch in their newsletter I might go a little easier on them, but if all they're doing is sending you promotional pitches via their "newsletter", that would tick me off.

        Cheers,

        Steve
        I agree, I sometimes send an email, "It was nice meeting you, you may be interested in my 7 Deadly Sins of Web Copy report...yada, yada, yada. If you are, just click the confirmation below"

        That's sent from inside aweber so they only have to click that confirmation link.
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  • Profile picture of the author URbanWorld
    I don't know if it is ok or even right, but it certainly has become an acceptable practice for many.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      I do attend a lot of networking events, trade shows, etc. It seems this is quite common and even to be expected. I really don't have a problem with someone adding me to their list. That means I can add them to mine, LOL!

      But there should at least be a minimum amount of verbal exchange during these events; "accosting everyone for their business card" is flagrantly unprofessional and tacky.
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  • Profile picture of the author quintonboyer
    I think it is completely unacceptable to add someone to a list without permission. That is not right at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    I am big into Chamber and Business mixers. If I get a business card of someone I want to contact. I will verbally tell them I can going to send them an e-mail. They pretty much agree to accept it every time. I got my biggest client, $120,000 per year Offline Marketing from a business mixer. It was a local Franchise, handle their Social Media, Google Adwords/Places.
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    • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
      Originally Posted by sdentrepreneur View Post

      I am big into Chamber and Business mixers. If I get a business card of someone I want to contact. I will verbally tell them I can going to send them an e-mail. They pretty much agree to accept it every time. I got my biggest client, $120,000 per year Offline Marketing from a business mixer. It was a local Franchise, handle their Social Media, Google Adwords/Places.
      I haven't been to a chamber gig in ages. I used to a member up in Northern Virginia, but the one in Raleigh costs a small fortune. And then every additional group or network is an add-on costs. Not very small business friendly in my book.

      But that's great to hear you've had good luck with them. Maybe I'll check out an event or two coming up. And yes, that's a smart way to do it--to just verbally tell them. I bet very few people would say "no" to your face!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
    Yeah, it's fine. There's a reason people add their emails to business cards and it's because they expect to receive emails from those who they give their cards to. Has never been an issue for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Hangen
      If someone does this to me, and they have, I make a mental note never to do business with them on any level, at any time, now or in the future.

      I also mark it as spam in Gmail.

      This is a horrible business practice, and I would think twice...maybe even 10x, before doing this.
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    • Profile picture of the author Valli
      Exactly. I mean: Come on people. If you do not like their mailings, unsubscribe!
      You do not even have to tell them that you do not like them and consider it spammy that they dare to talk to you without your approval.

      If you hand me over your card, it is fine to call you, it is fine to visit you spontaneously, it is fine to send you mail either paper or electronic. You still have the chance to decide iif you like it or not...

      Do not be so tight.

      Just sayin.

      Originally Posted by Mike Grant View Post

      Yeah, it's fine. There's a reason people add their emails to business cards and it's because they expect to receive emails from those who they give their cards to. Has never been an issue for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author diegoortiz
    well as a speaker and seminar leader i always ask my audience for permmission first. i use my ipad with chimpadooledoo app and in the entrance for every event i do i tell my volunteer to ask permision to add them to my newsletter. in other words i alway do permision based email marketing.

    for me it would be rude no to ask first.
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    • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
      Originally Posted by diegoortiz View Post

      well as a speaker and seminar leader i always ask my audience for permmission first. i use my ipad with chimpadooledoo app and in the entrance for every event i do i tell my volunteer to ask permision to add them to my newsletter. in other words i alway do permision based email marketing.

      for me it would be rude no to ask first.
      So do you have them sign up right on your ipad? Fill out a web form or something? That's kind of a neat idea, though I don't have an ipad.
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      • Profile picture of the author diegoortiz
        Originally Posted by TracyNeedham View Post

        So do you have them sign up right on your ipad? Fill out a web form or something? That's kind of a neat idea, though I don't have an ipad.
        yeah its a really cool app called chipadoodledoo, and it let me sync it to my mailchimp newsletter signup form, and my seminar attendee can just enter their name and email directly into the app, and thats it, good to go. its awesome and free to
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  • Yeah I would assume that it is SPAM. Our world today...
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  • Profile picture of the author Sheila Atwood
    This sounds like it started out badly, "standing by the door accosting people".

    Although my email address may be on my business card that does not give you permission to add me to your list. That is spam. It does give you permission to email me and ask if I would like to receive regular emails.

    After all it is called permission marketing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
      Originally Posted by Sheila Atwood View Post

      This sounds like it started out badly, "standing by the door accosting people".

      Although my email address may be on my business card that does not give you permission to add me to your list. That is spam. It does give you permission to email me and ask if I would like to receive regular emails.

      After all it is called permission marketing.
      If it was spam, it'd be against TOS of autoresponders. A guy above asked three companies this specific question last week, supposedly, and they claim no issue.
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      • Profile picture of the author Nathan Hangen
        Originally Posted by Mike Grant View Post

        If it was spam, it'd be against TOS of autoresponders. A guy above asked three companies this specific question last week, supposedly, and they claim no issue.
        Basing your business practices on a ToS, as opposed to the way clients feel about it doesn't feel like a great way to make decisions.
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        • Profile picture of the author Willie Crawford
          Originally Posted by Nathan Hangen View Post

          Basing your business practices on a ToS, as opposed to the way clients feel about it doesn't feel like a great way to make decisions.
          I agree with you in principle, just not in definitions. I would never
          want anyone on my list who doesn't want to be there, and have
          even unsubscribed people who have added themselves to my list,
          because I saw a mismatch.

          I just think that people misuse the term spam a lot... but I've
          seen dozens of heated arguments here on that topic, and the
          threads typically get deleted

          Willie
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          • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
            If someone does this to me, and they have, I make a mental note never to do business with them on any level, at any time, now or in the future.

            I also mark it as spam
            I take a stern negative view of people who add me to their list without my having requested it, but a long time ago, I gave up on trying to explain this to them. They just ended up taking it personally, acting hurt because I "didn't like them."

            Then I tried a standard reply to casual business contacts who had added me to their list without my permission, something like this:

            "Please take me off your distribution list. I don't sign up for any lists whatsoever at this email address so that I can ensure that it is easy for me to keep up with my email when I am traveling and so that important one-on-one business emails come to my attention quickly.

            Thank you for understanding."

            This seemed to take away the sting when I asked them to take me off their list. And actually, it's pretty much true. I have a separate email account I use for newsletters and lists I subscribe to.

            If it's someone I feel I do not know at all, who added me to their list simply because they signed up to mine, I report their messages as spam to their ISP.

            Marcia Yudkin
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            • Profile picture of the author Willie Crawford
              Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post


              If it's someone I feel I do not know at all, who added me to their list simply because they signed up to mine, I report their messages as spam to their ISP.

              Marcia Yudkin

              I haven't had that problem, just people who sign up to your list with
              an autoresponder email. Apparently, someone is STILL teaching this
              as a way to get your offers into the hands of interested parties

              Willie
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            • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
              Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

              I take a stern negative view of people who add me to their list without my having requested it, but a long time ago, I gave up on trying to explain this to them. They just ended up taking it personally, acting hurt because I "didn't like them."

              Then I tried a standard reply to casual business contacts who had added me to their list without my permission, something like this:

              "Please take me off your distribution list. I don't sign up for any lists whatsoever at this email address so that I can ensure that it is easy for me to keep up with my email when I am traveling and so that important one-on-one business emails come to my attention quickly.

              Thank you for understanding."

              This seemed to take away the sting when I asked them to take me off their list. And actually, it's pretty much true. I have a separate email account I use for newsletters and lists I subscribe to.

              If it's someone I feel I do not know at all, who added me to their list simply because they signed up to mine, I report their messages as spam to their ISP.

              Marcia Yudkin
              Marcia,

              I really like your reply and may use something like that in the future. As you said, it makes it less personal for those who are easily offended and is totally legit. I too try to keep all my newsletters on a single (different) address and would like only important messages to come in on that one.

              Thanks!

              Tracy
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              • Profile picture of the author Hesaidblissfully
                If someone gives me their business card, that means it's okay for me to perhaps contact them and invite them to join my list, not to just put them on the list without their permission. That's how I see it, anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by Sheila Atwood View Post

      Although my email address may be on my business card that does not give you permission to add me to your list. That is spam. It does give you permission to email me and ask if I would like to receive regular emails.
      I agree.

      The eMail address is there as a means of contact. It is not put there as an open invitation to add me to a mailing list.

      Those that add me to such a list will end up going into the spam bin. And being marked as spam is not going to be good for them.
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      • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        I agree.

        The eMail address is there as a means of contact. It is not put there as an open invitation to add me to a mailing list.

        Those that add me to such a list will end up going into the spam bin. And being marked as spam is not going to be good for them.
        That's a good way to put it. I wish Outlook let you report email as spam, but I can definitely do it in Gmail if annoyed enough.

        If someone is new to internet marketing, I tend to cut them some slack. But they're certainly not winning any points from me by doing it.
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        • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
          Originally Posted by Scott Skinner View Post

          If it bothers you, the only way around it unfortunately, is to take your email off your card. Common courtesy would dictate that they ask permission to "add" you and then send you an "opt-in" link. However common courtesy is becoming less common.
          Well, I'm not taking it off my card but I totally agree--what common courtesy dictates is less and less often what people actually do!

          Originally Posted by Nathan Hangen View Post

          Basing your business practices on a ToS, as opposed to the way clients feel about it doesn't feel like a great way to make decisions.
          I totally agree. What's legal and what's best to do for the sake of cultivating know, like and trust with prospects and customers are not necessarily one and the same. And I tend to go with the latter (unless it's not legal, of course!)

          Originally Posted by Willie Crawford View Post

          I just think that people misuse the term spam a lot... but I've
          seen dozens of heated arguments here on that topic, and the
          threads typically get deleted
          I agree that the word "spam" gets tossed around a lot. What is technically spam and what is just being annoying are not one and the same.

          For example, if I subscribe to a list and they send me 3 emails a day every day, technically, that's not spam since I subscribed. But I'd be highly annoyed and quick to unsubscribe.

          So yes, we should all be more careful about delineating between the two.
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  • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
    Great post Tracy!

    Mike Young has a new physical book out on internet law (Internet Laws: How to protect your business website without a lawyer- highly recommended by the way) and he covers just this topic.

    Basically he says its spamming (against can-spam) to just put someone's email address into your list because they gave you a business card. Its not an opt-in request folks - its networking information.

    Personally connect before you go adding them to your lists. I typically send an email, mention something we talked about at the event where I got their email and if business oriented I will ask them to link with me on LinkedIn. I see how it goes from there.

    --Jack
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    • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
      Originally Posted by jacktackett View Post

      Great post Tracy!

      Mike Young has a new physical book out on internet law (Internet Laws: How to protect your business website without a lawyer- highly recommended by the way) and he covers just this topic.

      Basically he says its spamming (against can-spam) to just put someone's email address into your list because they gave you a business card. Its not an opt-in request folks - its networking information.

      Personally connect before you go adding them to your lists. I typically send an email, mention something we talked about at the event where I got their email and if business oriented I will ask them to link with me on LinkedIn. I see how it goes from there.

      --Jack
      I'll have to look for that book, thanks for the tip Jack!

      See I think it's a gray area with CAN-SPAM, because it's B2B, but obviously he's the expert.

      But I think the chance of annoying people is too high to make it worthwhile. You certainly don't want a bunch of people to get ticked and report you as spam!

      I've really gotta start using Linked In more...
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  • Profile picture of the author BizSeo
    A user needs to single/double opt-in by law for you to send them mass emails.

    Definitely email your client back saying thanks and leave your subscription link in your signature. Your client will subscribe if they like what you do or are interested.

    Keep in mind you don't want to force or add an email address to your list which you won't even know if they are interested in your niche. Try to get as much High Quality subscribers then quantity.

    I hope that helps
    Have fun!
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Skinner
    If it bothers you, the only way around it unfortunately, is to take your email off your card. Common courtesy would dictate that they ask permission to "add" you and then send you an "opt-in" link. However common courtesy is becoming less common.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude7
    Tracey,
    I used to run a vip networking operation in central london & the whole focus was building trust and goodwill with fellow business associates. You can imagine there were always business cards being passed around. We always felt the email contact should re enforce the communication so if you knew the person it would be ok to email them.. hi remember me we met at x event, they would be warm & probably be happy to enter a name and email address to an offer...... We always treated the later as spam where there was no relationship before.... some people do take liberties and I agree with you it is annoying, I've only recently cleaned my email accounts.
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  • Profile picture of the author AlexR
    I agree with Steve. It should be the presenter offering you her card, not asking for yours.

    I don't think that forced subscription is of any great benefit and just annoys people as it over-rides their right to chose whether they want to be on a particular list or not.

    Whether it's ethical/legal or not, it sure is damned annoying.

    I've given select people my business card at network meetings. If my email address is used for personal messaging, I have no problem with it. If it's used to flood my mail box with bulk mail-out offers that I didn't ask for, I blacklist the person.

    Networking is not about exchanging mailing lists.

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author grin
    Yeah I would agree, that is totally unacceptable. If I am on a list, but it comes across as genuine business communication that is fine; but when it is clear I am being hit with an impersonal broadcast that is foolish. I don't even care about the "rules" of spam - that is just plain business communication etiquette.
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  • Profile picture of the author 4Frankie
    I think that is rotten and I would not want to deal with them.
    Would mean that I would not read there email and unsubscribe straightaway.
    Great post
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Brauer
    Honestly, if you did this to me I would be pissed....

    Just my 2c
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  • Profile picture of the author davidfstyles
    You'd probably want to look more closely at the CAN SPAM act but from what I understand people need to opt-in to your subscriber list. If the person sent with your business card sent you an email saying 'Hey... we met the other day. Just wanted to give you a free report about xyz... go and check it out: LINK' and sent you to a squeeze page to opt-in, then fine. However to just start spamming you without consent, well that's another matter IMO. Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sparklesperson
    I once had a lady subscribe to MY email list, then take the return address (email) and add it to HERS. I unsubbed a bunch of times. I ASKED her to take me off hers - she got snarky - and I eventually called her mlm and asked them to take me off and speak to her about it. And she still had the gal to ask me to be her friend on Facebook! So I blocked her.. problem solved. It really did sensitize me to the concept though, although I would never do that to anybody.
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    • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
      Originally Posted by Sparklesperson View Post

      I once had a lady subscribe to MY email list, then take the return address (email) and add it to HERS. I unsubbed a bunch of times. I ASKED her to take me off hers - she got snarky - and I eventually called her mlm and asked them to take me off and speak to her about it. And she still had the gal to ask me to be her friend on Facebook! So I blocked her.. problem solved. It really did sensitize me to the concept though, although I would never do that to anybody.
      Oh man, I don't pull that trigger very often, but in this case, I would have been complaining to her ISP. Why would you want to keep someone on your list who doesn't want to be there?! Her pitches are never going to hypnotize you into buying anything because you're going to be annoyed every time you see them!

      It's true though--you can't fix stupid!
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    depends on how well you know then.

    But also I would say make sure you let them know.

    Otherwise they will be thinkin, oh man that sun of a gun lol
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Generally, you should ASK first before sending email to a person that left their business card! A business card USUALLY says "I'm here, if YOU want me to help YOU with something, here's how YOU can contact ME! Basically, you give them ONE thing, so they can contact you.

    It does NOT say "I'm here, if you want to advertise to me". It is NOT saying that you agree to be contacted by them continuously.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Dann Vicker
    I would not recommend this route as it may get you in trouble if a subset of these people should complain to your isp or autoresponder. You should be on the safer side if you explain to these prospects they may be receiving periodical email messages from you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Topgunb
    It is never ok nor right to ADD someone to your mailling list! They have to / must opt in

    Is it ok to contact someone via email who hands you their business card?
    Absolutely, the basis of the business card is to make contact if you are interested or need the services offered on the business card.

    Unless you are specifically asked to send an email with your info on it - It is a no NO.

    So Yes to make contact
    NO to try and solicit business from them

    Basic Marketing - Include your signature file on all emails

    Professional communication and ethics would have dictated an exchange of business cards. This implies mutual consent to business contact - if you want to take them up on their services.

    IT IS NEVER OK TO SPAM !
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  • Profile picture of the author magnates
    It is not Ok unless the person has given express permission to do . Period !!Nothing more needs to be said . Don't take liberty for license
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    • Absolutely not. That's why most mailing lists use an opt-in system. Otherwise, unethical people just add every email they can scrape from the internet (or anywhere else).

      If I give you a business card, it's so you can contact me and ask questions regarding my service.

      Originally Posted by magnates View Post

      It is not Ok unless the person has given express permission to do . Period !!Nothing more needs to be said . Don't take liberty for license
      Exactly.
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      • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
        It is never ok nor right to ADD someone to your mailling list! They have to / must opt in
        I am very strict about opt-ins, but the above is not quite right. If someone gives you verbal permission or requests to be on your list without themselves performing the opt-in, it is both legal and ethical to add them to your list.

        For example, if you give a business talk and you say, pass in your business card if you'd like to be on my email list, then everyone who passes in a card can be added to your list. They have given permission.

        Or, if you have a voice mail message that includes an invitation to sign up for your list, someone who leaves their email address there can validly be added to your list.

        On the other hand, if someone just hands you their business card with no such context, you should not add them to your list. That's poor business practice and shows a lack of respect for the other person.

        Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author fanimal
    If the email list is related to the person's business and if he would find the email content valuable then why not.
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
      Tracey,

      Have you ever thought about having two business cards?

      One you give to people that you want to contact you via email and the other (without an email address) you hand out in situations like that described above.

      Martin
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  • Profile picture of the author SilviaH
    I would think that to be very rude, to just add someone without their permission. I can see where it's ok when someone e-mails me to invite me to join their list or tell me about what sorts of things they are doing that I might be interested in, because I was thinking of doing that myself once I get a more general company or more general themed products going.

    But just randomly adding people and doing it in bulk, no that's something I would not do. I want to build a business and a brand, not alienate people whom I'm hoping to do business in the future with. That's precisely why I'm sitting likely on thousands of prospective clients and WILL not contact them for something specific that may or may not offend them.

    I'd rather wait until I have a more general product that THEY may actually care about and then invite them to know more about what I offer on a personal level, maybe mentioning the more specific products or niches as a little side note that THEY can choose to follow up on if they have an interest. More of like a personal contact to see how they are doing and to let them know how I'm doing and not directly a sales pitch. .

    I figure that way, if they want to investigate further, they will come. If they don't want to, they know I'm still alive and kicking and doing well but they will not feel pressured to immediately jump on anything I may be selling. I'd rather have customers that WANT to have what I offer than those who will resent me in the long run.

    Silvia H.
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  • Profile picture of the author lootbags2010
    Unless some asks me to email them, I'm not going to take their card as an invitation to join their list. I am also very selective about who gets my card, I have no problem refusing to give someone my card and if pressed i can easily give them one of my disposable email addresses. It's not being rude to say "I ran out" of cards when some accosts you before you leave the event if you don't want to be contacted by the person.
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  • Profile picture of the author usernames suck
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author rhinocl
      I remember one local business person got in trouble with their email sender because they grew their list too fast. They explained that they were a speaker and sent copies of all the business cards they had collected to their emailer who accepted that as a legimate way to build a list.
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