The other day I had to create a user id on an Indian financial news web-site. I wanted to create a portfolio that included mutual funds and Yahoo Finance doesn’t cover Indian mutual funds. The portfolio worked alright, but eventually I decided to keep it on Yahoo Finance after all. That should have been that.
But then I started getting email from that web-site. One email a day about products, investment ideas and news summaries that I had no interest in. I did not opt to get these emails. That was foul number one.
I then unsubscribed. The email does have a link to unsubscribe. So I clicked on it. I was asked to put in my email address. So far no major problem. Although I would have expected that since I was clicking on a link within the email sent to me, I should be unsubscribed without asking my for my email address.
Upon entering my email address I get this message – ‘We have received your request. We will take your email off our mailing list shortly’. That was very uncool. This major web-site is telling me that they cannot, as part of the same transaction take my email off their mailing list. That they have to run a batch process (when?) to unsubscribe me.
You can guess what happened next. Or rather didn’t. Two weeks later, I am still getting their daily dose of spam. And that is a big foul. That would get you thrown out of the game in the US.
The US created legislation called CAN-SPAM which defines the ways in which email addresses may be obtained, permission based email marketing and rules on opting out or unsubscribing. But well before the regulations came into effect, high quality companies got together to develop industry standards. This was not out of the goodness of their hearts necessarily. It was because they wanted users to trust them. Trust is what gets people to do business with you.
I wonder if Indian web-sites targeted at consumers and small businesses realize this. They are losing the discerning, net-savvy customers because they don’t trust them. I wonder if the GoI Dept of IT realizes that it needs to step in and put some legislation. And enforce it. As with most things in India, enforcement is 9/10th of the deterrence in any law.
As you can imagine I won’t be giving out my email to an Indian web-site for a while. Do you have any similar experiences with Indian web-sites?