I was contacted very early on with the Matchstick promotion. I received a comment on my “about” page way back on May 24th and shortly thereafter spoke with Matchstick Jeff on the phone. Because my cell phone service is with Telus Mobility (and will be until my contract runs out next September, or until someone buys me out of it), I don’t qualify for the Matchstick “free phone.” (just in case anyone was still unsure.) It only works on the Rogers network.
Since word got out into the local blogosphere in general, I’ve received countless emails from blogging friends and acquaintances. It seems that Yvonne at Matchstick is encouraging people to spam everyone they know, asking if they meet the following criteria:
Without asking me about my stats or my cellular service provider, the people who keep emailing me can only reliably vouch for 3 out of 5 of the criteria that Matchstick is looking for. Not only that, but 2 out of the 3 criteria my friends could vouch for are highly subjective. And yet the messages still keep flowing in.
The last straw came today when Yvonne herself emailed me, saying a friend had recommended me and do I meet the criteria they’re looking for to get a new phone? If Yvonne did her own research (and dare I say, her job), she’d know that I don’t meet the criteria and moreso that Jeff already contacted me.
I think the idea of word of mouth marketing is a great one, but spamming me, or encouraging spam to come my way is not the way to excite me about it. And to address some past comments from Travis regarding the spam factor – I don’t consider Jeff’s initial email spam. I do think that Yvonne is spamming, and encouraging spam. While my friends are just passing along information that they think might be relevant to me, It falls along the same lines of how a “good luck chain letter” or an email full of pics of “really cute kittens being cute!” might be relevant, but probably isn’t. And as I mentioned, Yvonne already sent me a repeat unsolicited solicitation.
Now I’m annoyed enough that both Nokia and Rogers will be receiving some emails from me regarding their affiliation with and the annoyance factor of Matchstick marketing. I’m sure that’s the last thing they wanted to achieve.
The road to hell is certainly paved with good intentions, and I’m starting to think that there’s also an accompanying bike path, paved with email forwards & spam – and the people at Matchstick are only contributing to its widening.
And one other thing: Matchstick is only looking for 40 local bloggers to give phones to. If it’s already taken six weeks and I’ve heard more about the annoyance factor of their methods than the product they’re trying to advertise, I wouldn’t call them terribly successful or good at what they do.
UPDATE: (July 6/06) I replied to Yvonne’s email, and cc’d it to the general Matchstick info address right after posting yesterday expressing my concern and distaste over the situation. I just received a call from Matchstick Jeff (less than 24 hours later) who called to offer his sincere apology for the flub of being contacted multiple times, and to let me know of the changes they’re making to deal with the inconvenience.
He said that from now on they’d be checking the URLs of their referrals (why Yvonne never did that in the first place I’ll never know – seems very inefficient to me), and while they’ll actively seek referrals, they won’t be asking anyone to pass the information along to (read: spam) their friends and acquaintances.
So, while I sitll say boo to Yvonne’s initial tactis, I say yay to Jeff and by extension to Matchstick. I’m ok with giving him and Matchstick the benefit of the doubt that his actions and promises are more representative of their intent than Yvonne’s were.