Whose details are they anyway?

Recently, I was reminded of the old adage that if you’re not paying for it, you’re part of the product. Often applied to social media like Google and facebook, it also applies to my (and your) email address.

I think my email address belongs to me, but last year I realised that it belongs to all the companies with whom I’ve signed up for updates. In particular, I realised this when I came to try and delete some accounts. Companies don’t like us to delete our details, they would rather we unsubscribed. That way they get to keep our details.

As I was having trouble even unsubscribing from some sites, I began to keep a list of when I unsubscribed from them.

I found that Time Out and Totally Legal were impossible to unsubscribe from. In both cases I deleted my accounts  in 2012 but continued to receive emails.

Most recently, out of the blue in September 2013, I started receiving emails from My Voucher Codes. Looking back, I found that I unsubscribed from all email updates in December 2012. So why the new (daily) emails? The company has just rebranded and relaunched, spending £1m along the way – the perfect opportunity for MVC to abuse its email lists. When I realised what had happened, I checked out MVC’s privacy policy and noted the breaches. I found the relevant email address to contact the company and the email bounced. They want to keep my details but they don’t want to share theirs!

I’ve recently tried unsubscribing to MVC and TL email updates again, but I don’t have much hope that I will free myself from their spam.


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