Daily Candy Won't Sell Your E-mail To Advertisers, But They'll Charge Advertisers To Send You An E-mail

Consumerist reader Mel recently signed up to receive updates from DailyCandy.com with the hope of getting the scoop on sample sales and shopping in the San Francisco area. What Mel didn’t expect was a paid political ad for a gubernatorial candidate.

Daily Candy describes itself as a “handpicked selection of all that’s fun, fashionable, food related, and culturally stimulating in the city.” Somehow, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman falls into one or more of those categories, because yesterday Mel received a “dedicated e-mail” from Daily Candy that was a long letter from the Republican gubernatorial candidate about why you should vote for her.

Says Mel:

For some reason they thought I’d be interested in the email… I emailed them to ask why the hell they were sending me political emails but they haven’t responded yet. Maybe Meg Whitman’s large sacks of cash were too much for them to resist? I find her loathsome but would have been irritated to get emails about her competitor too. Why potentially alienate half your mailing list for this unrelated ad?

Over on Daily Candy’s “Editorial Policy” page, they state:

No one can pay to be featured on DailyCandy. That’s what advertising is for, and it’s always labeled as such. Selling ourselves (literally) would destroy the legitimacy, integrity, and fun of DailyCandy. Plus, we’d never earn your trust that way. So we’ll never make a dime off your meal at a restaurant or a penny from the sale of the latest accessory we told you about.

That said, on occasion, we will send out Dedicated E-mails on behalf of sponsors. You’ll recognize them from the subject line: Dedicated E-mail. Yes, these are paid for.

And no, we would never sell our subscriber list to anyone. Not for any amount of money.

Well, of course they don’t have to actually sell their subscriber list to anyone when they can just charge the advertisers to use the subscriber list to blast out “dedicated e-mails.”

Comments

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  1. DariusC says:

    OP: They are sending me spam.

    Solution: Report Spam / Unsubscribe

    Done.

    • ames says:

      It’s not spam, really. If she reported it as spam, then she wouldn’t get the DC e-mails that she does want. Ditto if she unsubscribed. I think it’s reasonable for her to keep the subscription (it’s a dead useful newsletter) but question how the dedicated e-mails are used.

      That being said, I don’t really think she’s got a valid complaint here. A sponsor is a sponsor, and DC doesn’t say “we only take food and retail sponsors”. If this politician sees the DC readership as one worth courting, then I don’t really see a difference between this dedicated e-mail and any other dedicated email – other than the OP doesn’t like Meg Whitman.

      • Rena says:

        Unsolicited advertising? Sounds like spam to me. A good spam filter will learn to filter those messages without blocking the list outright.

  2. humphrmi says:

    Don’t want to sound pedantic (or obvious) here, but if their “sponsor paid” emails all contain the phrase “dedicated e-mail” in the subject, then why not just filter those out at your mail client?

    I’m not entirely sure what the post is taking issue with… the post seems to include the very wording on Daily Candy’s website that indicates that they will do this. Is it because it’s a political ad?

  3. Michael Belisle says:

    Selling your subscriber list is in fact a very different beast than sending an email on behalf of a sponsor. I find one of these far less concerning than the other.

  4. DanRydell says:

    Stop the presses! Many other companies do this too. Ever signed up for anything at Microsoft and seen a checkbox asking for permission to send you e-mails from their “partners” about things you might be interested in?

    There IS a big difference between selling a subscriber list and sending out sponsored e-mails. I can’t believe a Consumerist writer wouldn’t recognize the difference.

    • Chris Morran says:

      There is no opt-in box for ad partners or anything like that when you sign up for the daily candy e-mails. The “dedicated e-mail” thing is buried several paragraphs deep into its terms and conditions and are listed under “editorial” and not under the “privacy” heading.

      • Brink006 says:

        Thank you for researching this, Chris. I can only wish that all the Consumerist editors did their due diligence as thoroughly as you before posting a story.

      • Sammich says:

        There’s a very good reason it wasn’t under the “privacy” heading. As long as it’s Daily Candy sending the email, and they don’t give the advertiser any personally identifiable information about the recipients, it’s not a privacy issue. It’s the email newsletter equivalent of a full-page ad.

        No separate opt-out for these “Dedicated E-mails” and burying the information about them deep in the terms of service is certainly less than desirable behaviour, but it’s not a privacy issue in any imaginable way.

  5. ColoradoShark says:

    You’re all just a bunch of San Francisco Ghirardelli chocolate snobs. Real Americans know Whitman samplers as real chocolate. The Daily Candy folks just got confused and sent you something about some other Whitman.

  6. jason in boston says:

    This seems kind of clever. Crappy for customer service, but clever nonetheless.

  7. Brink006 says:

    Imagining my state being run like eBay– the only thing scarier is California being run like PayPal. But hey, don’t worry– she created jobs… and then some people were laid off as the business began to stagnate, then flounder. Then she took increased compensation as a reward for it. Sounds like she should’ve been in politics all along!

    • davidc says:

      Whitman compared to Arnold? Gray? Brown? I will take her over any of those blundering idiots any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      For some reason people seem to be adverse to actually putting an “Executive” in the Executive branch. Would much rather have CA run like E-Bay then have CA run into the ground as is happening now.

      • Brink006 says:

        She’ll solve all the deficit and debt problems with tax cuts…. oh, wait, dammit. =(

      • Gulliver says:

        How many executives did Meg hire at Ebay who had ABSOLUTELY ZERO EXPERIENCE? Did the CFO come right out of UCLA BSchool? See, when I hire somebody, I expect them to have some experience and knowledge of the industry. A good politician would start on a small scale (county commissioner) and work up to something higher. Putting people with no experience in the chair is what got you Arnold in the first place. Gray was a good governor hand cuffed by the idiotic direct democracy that Californians seem to love so much. You can’t mandate lower taxes, higher spending, balanced budgets and make them all work constitutionally.

  8. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    I was receiving between 1-5 emails a day from Daily Candy, so I unsubscribed. It was ridiculous.

    • George4478 says:

      I’ve gotten rid of most of my company-sent emails over this. “Wow, if he likes one email a week about our products, he’ll just love three a day!”

      Uh, no…..

      • Warble says:

        Better customer management systems give the user a lot of control over this, because there actually really are some people who like to get that much mail, but you’re not one of them and you shouldn’t have to put up with it. Sounds like their online marketing team could use a talking to.

  9. Roger Wilco says:

    When do we get a cut?

    Experian sells my credit report to company X so they harass me with offers…I should see a percentage of that transaction.

    Website Y seels my email address, or access to it to company Z so they can send me targeted messaging…I want a piece of that action.

    As the progenitor of the data being sold how did I get cut out of the equation?

    • caradrake says:

      My husband and I were just talking about that a week ago or so – about creating a company where users can join, enter all of their personal information, and get a small amount of money in exchange for that data being sold to other companies.

      A lot of people would be “no! You can’t sell my information” – but it happens already, so why not profit from it?

      • SunnyLea says:

        I swear that this has not only been done, but that it was covered by Consumerist, but darned if I’ll ever know because I can’t come up with a good set of search terms for it.

    • DanRydell says:

      Your “piece of that action” is the free service that website is providing.

  10. tooluser says:

    I once sent my Democratic state congressperson an e-mail with some comments. Within 48 hours I was being spammed by seemingly every left wing political group in the state. Highly offensive. As a result I don’t bother contacting my elected officials. It’s very clear they don’t care anyway — purely in business for themselves.

    • curmudgeon5 says:

      Not true. They track how much mail they get on each issue, and it really can impact their vote. Used to work for a legislator.

      • humphrmi says:

        While I agree with you, @tooluser has a point. I once contacted Dick Durbin and almost immediately started getting spam from his PAC or action group or whatever the hell it is. Most annoying. Politicians should be savvy enough to put a wall between their campaign / issue action groups and their office. But no, like their finances, it all gets intermingled.

  11. curmudgeon5 says:

    Report them as spammers (using your “spam” button, nothing fancy required). If enough people do, they get in trouble with their ISP. (And it doesn’t take that many.)

  12. sqeelar says:

    DailyCandy is quietly negoiating with NAMBLA for a really big mailing since there’s a synergy between their interests.

  13. Rena says:

    I’d almost be too surprised to see a candidate explaining why I should vote for them rather than saying nothing but “Vote for Joe Politician” to even realize I’m looking at spam.

  14. Kyin says:

    “You’ll recognize them from the subject line: Dedicated E-mail.” So what you do is set up your spam filter to put any email with the subject line “Dedicated E-Mail,” into your spam folder. Now you are no longer receiving these emails and you can enjoy your newsletter.

  15. yesohyes22 says:

    dailycandy spammed me over and over and despite hitting ‘report spam’ on gmail a dozen times, i finally emailed them and i guess it fell on deaf ears.

    so i finally created a filter right to trash because unsubscribing didn’t work.

  16. SolidSquid says:

    Hey, easy solution. Add a filter for the text “Dedicated e-mail” from DailyCandy which sends it to the junk mail folder. No more ads, still get the regular updates