"I subscribe to a wonderful Web-based entity that sends me a weekly newsletter, which I enjoy very much," begins an entry in the Editorial Emergency newsletter. "But a while back they started sending me a daily e-mail on top of my weekly e-mail."

The first problem with this scenario is—of course—that the company never requested permission to send the daily missive; the second is that Editorial Emergency could find no obvious way to unsubscribe from the unwelcome daily missive without also cancelling the beloved weekly issue. Making matters worse, they were still waiting for follow-up long after the 48-hour window promised by an autoreply from the site's webmaster.

"Naturally," continues the entry, "I've begun to associate my annoyance at these daily e-mails with the organization that sends them, which I imagine is not its marketing strategy. I'm on the verge of canceling my subscription altogether."

So annoyed has Editorial Emergency become, it used this topic as an opportunity to ask its own readers how often they'd like to receive newsletters, and plans to publish the results in its next issue.

We spend a lot of time discussing the theoretical advantages of permission-based marketing; in this real-life example, we can see a customer relationship being destroyed in slow motion, and for no good reason. They're lucky Editorial Emergency hasn't hit the spam button.

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