About a month ago my friend, Dennis, and I are catching up and bouncing around on email topics when Jigsaw came up.  I wasn’t too familiar with Jigsaw, so took a quick look at the site and didn’t think much about it after that.

The next day I’m poking around my Outlook Junk folder and lo-and-behold, I got an email from Jigsaw the day before.  Now I’ve been in the email space a long time and on certain email addresses I give some latitude to some of the email that I receive when it could be something that I don’t remember, but probably subscribed to because I was interested at the time and they haven’t been engaging enough for me to remember them, but that’s another story….  

But Jigsaw is trying to be engaging and is stepping up to set my expectations of the mail that I’ll receive that I never signed up for to begin with.  And, I can even set my very own preferences as to what kind of and how often I’ll receive “relevant” emails that, again, I never subscribed to in the first place.

Now I don’t know what time I might have looked at the Jigsaw site on 11 November, but I know that it wasn’t before 3:51 AM….

So, I go to their site and see “Are you in Jigsaw?” When I click the link I’m taken to a page where I can search my email address. I searched the address where I received the mail. A confirmation screen verified that I was listed in their data base.

The next screen after entering the code tells me that they’re sending an email and that I should click the link.  This is all for my protection, of course.  After all, I wouldn’t want anybody entering information about me, or adding me to any marketing data bases or anything like that….

I get the email…. this time into the Outlook Inbox. I really like how they shaded the area – as if to call attention to it – that asks, “Not a Jigsaw member?” What I want to know is how the hell they got my email address to begin with! And why do they have it if I’m not a “member”? I’m certainly not a subscriber.

Then I click on the link and it tells me what they know about me.  I’m still not sure where they get their information, because I sure as hell know that they didn’t get it from me – I didn’t even know the office phone number, let alone the Zip code…

Because it’s a bit creepy, I clicked on the “Removal Instructions” link, and here is where they appear to me that they are some sort of stalking harvesters, or harvesting stalkers (Sources of Jigsaw Business Information)…

Clicking the “Removal Instructions” link took me to the “Fair Information” page. Clicking the Jigsaw Support link from the Fair Information page took me to a Jigsaw Support Team contact form. The “Case Reason” drop-down menu doesn’t have “Removal” as an option.  

Some of my favorite parts of the Jigsaw Fair Information Statement are:

  1. Removal and Suppression – Jigsaw voluntarily offers individuals the opportunity to request that their direct business contact information be removed or suppressed from Jigsaw.com, under certain terms and conditions….
    Request Processing and Response – Jigsaw will review and confirm requests upon receipt. Requests for access, correction, removal or suppression will be addressed and considered on an individual, case by case basis and based upon the information provided….
    Opt-Out of Email Marketing from Jigsaw– If your direct business contact information is on Jigsaw.com, you may “opt-out” of receiving direct marketing email communications initiated or sent by Jigsaw by emailing optout@jigsaw.com….

You can read them yourself for context, but to me it sums up as, “It doesn’t matter where we got you. We loaded your information into our system and if you want out jump through these hoops; and until you do we’re going to start mailing you (assuming anything someone will pay us to mail to you), or would you like to become a member?”

So by now you might be saying, “John, why didn’t you just opt-out and forget about it?”  Well, because a.) I never opted-in; b.) it gives me something to write about; and c.) if nobody is ever held to standards why have standards?  Silence is acceptance, my friends, and when you ignore bad behavior you get more of it.  This isn’t grade-school soccer where everybody gets a trophy.

Anyway, I email off a request to Jigsaw asking to be removed from their data base and asking where they got my information.  Two weeks later I get an email regarding a Case Number that was entered due to my removal request.

In between the time that I received a “reply” to my opt-out and where-the-hell-did-you-get-my-information request, guess what I got?  No, it wasn’t a million-dollar check from Ed McMahon, but it was an exciting and timely “relevant” offer from Pitney Bowes.

Note to Pitney Bowes:  Like other email sent to me from Jigsaw, your message ended up in my Junk folder, too.  In addition, what is it about “Email” in my listed title that would led you to believe that I might need a postage machine? 

Oh yeah, and I’m going to take a wild guess that CheetahMail doesn’t know that you’re using them to collect opt-outs from third-party mailings.  ESPs generally frown on that sort of thing and it’s probably a violation of your contract with them….  But hey, who’s counting….  Because if I was I’d next ask what about the company that I was listed under and my title lead you to the conclusion that I was a small business owner looking to by a postage machine?

And Jigsaw; what the hell were you selling to Pitney Bowes?  Really, what kind of crap is that?  On the off-chance that you ever had a hope of gaining my permission to message me with “relevant” offers, you really blew it by, among other things, whoring me to Pitney Bowes to build your CPM or make your minimums.  Come on, they might buy the idea that “Email” has “mail” in it, but really?  And you expect to ever be taken seriously?

The Pitney Bowes promotional message came 1 week after the first email that Jigsaw sent me and six days after I requested to be removed from their data base.  I received one more “relevant” promotional message from an equally clueless office supply chain that also ended up in my Junk folder before Jigsaw stopped whoring out my email address.  They never let me know if they’d removed my contact information or not, and I don’t use that address at all anymore, so maybe we’ll never know.  Either way, I don’t anticipate getting any more email from Jigsaw to that email address….