Christian Spammer preying on Ministries?

I got some more Christian spam today. The unsubscribe page looked eerily familiar. The layout/text was exactly the same as before but it was totally different ministry. I think there’s a Christian marketing company offering it’s tainted list to ministries…

This latest one was from World Relief. I don’t think WR knew they were spamming, and believed the marketing companies assertions that it was totally legal.

Which, under the CAN-SPAM act, it kind of is. You see they give you a clear unsubscribe choice, but… here’s the kicker… you’re only unsubscribed from that ministries copy of the list. Not the actual master list. The master list seems to stay intact, only to be sold to another ministry, from which you must unsubscribe.

The thing is, it’s not ethical. Just because I have my email posted on my church web site does not give you, or anyone else the right to email me marketing emails. You may be asking for donations, or letting me know about an important ministry opportunity, but it’s still marketing.

I’m going to try to track down the offending company and give them an earful. I’ve already sent emails to the two ministry victims encouraging them to talk to the vendor and, if the vendor doesn’t listen, take their business elsewhere.

UPDATE: My email response to the Day of Hope email bounced- the mailbox was full. More interesting was the mail server that responded: MAIL.ONCOREGROUP.COM. Oncore Group Services seems to be behind the Day of Hope site, and was behind the other site that spammed me… hmmm… coincidence? I think not. Perhaps I need to have a little email conversation with OnCore… but wait! They don’t have a contact email on their web site. I guess I’ll have to call a web marketing firm to contact them. Yeah, that makes sense.

UPDATE: My buddy Kevin hooked me up with a contact at OnCore. They are a class act. The missing email was a mistake that’s been corrected. They removed all my emails from the master list and told me the source of the bad list: listsyoucanafford.com. They were told it was an opt-in list. Apparently you can afford them… because they are full of stolen addresses. Ugh.

The response from OnCore had a great line:
Rest assured that we do not wish to be “like the world” in any of our efforts to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Amen to that.

If you’ve received an email from a ministry whose unsubscribe page looked like the picture below, please forward it to me (info at nickciske dot com) so I can compile a list of affected ministries.

spam-unsub.gif