A new site that’s sure to get photographers riled up sprang up last week called “Stop Photospam.” Creative Director Calle Sjoenell from BBH New York is using the site in an attempt to stop photographers and agents from spamming his and his colleagues email. In the first posting on the blog he states:
I have tried everything since I started at Fallon Minneapolis in 2006. I open my new email account and found photographers mailing me without my consent. Since spamming is illegal in Sweden. I got really upset and have tried to fight it ever since. I’ve, been unsubscribing, mailing, even calling them. But the flood continues. I get btw 10-15 every day. This is how we stop it. Join, retweet, spread!
Then on the main page he’s got a list of Art Directors and Creative Directors at major agencies who all claim they will never use a spam photographer and then go on to “declare never to use any of the following spam photographers” with a list that they claim to all be spammers. To add someone to the list it looks like all you have to do is forward the mass marketing email (spam?) and you’re on it.
In theory this list could grow to include most of the working photographers in the world. I’m not sure how Calle and his fellow creatives plan to manage that or even stick to their word of not working with these people. And, of course I know enough people in the business who like receiving these emails that it seems unrealistic that a small group who doesn’t could even put a dent in the traffic.
What’s interesting and hypocritical about this whole thing is that many of the people who say they don’t want emails from photographers are listed in AdBase as wanting them. Craig Duffney, Paul Wagner, Greg Hahn and even Calle himself are listed in the database along with their emails. Why not, before you go getting all huffy online, remove yourself from one of the largest databases that photographers use to reach creatives? Seems stupid to not start there.
If the database owners are to be believed, all the creatives listed have agreed to receive marketing emails, but even if they didn’t or didn’t know they were agreeing to this it’s pretty simple to opt-out of both. I do have some sympathy for Calle and his friends, because there’s a large amount of garbage and irrelevant emails that come in from being on a list. If you don’t have the time or patience to sift through it then you should remove yourself from the marketing databases at Agency Access, AdBase and Workbook and leave the heavy lifting to the Art Buyers and Photo Editors whose job it is to plow through all of this. Additionally for those who aren’t using the main marketing databases to email creatives there is a law in the US that requires all marketing email to have an opt-out option that must be honored (CAN-SPAM Act).
I do believe this signals a change in attitude towards email marketing, from mildly annoyed to outright anger. I’m sure there are plenty of creatives who feel the same way but are not as vocal as Calle. If your list is not targeted you’re likely just pissing someone off.