Amherst Life Blog

Welcome to the Amherst Life Blog! Here we will be posting information on activities, events, arts, community concerns, local business, and a variety of other topics related to life in Amherst, Massachusetts. If you are new to the area and looking for housing, please check out our other blog too ------------>> Amherst Housing Blog ::. http://amhersthousing.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

UMass Abuses its Email System (again)

This morning the following email was sent out to what appears to be every graduate and undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst:

May 28, 2008

OFFER ENDING NEXT FRIDAY

This is your last chance to take advantage of the 20% discount available for the new 8gb Apple iPod nano video. Orders will be accepted at this special price until next Friday. Shipments can be delivered to either your home or school address. You also have the option to have this product sent as a gift to friends or family members. Orders are limited to 3 iPods per person. Please visit the online shopping system below before next Friday if you wish to take advantage of this offer. Have a great summer!

Sincerely,

Carly R.
Student Rep


Our first question is, WHO ALLOWS THIS TYPE OF MARKETING CAMPAIGN TO FIND ITS WAY INTO OUR UMASS EMAIL ACCOUNTS?

The ANSWER: whoever is getting paid to allow it, whoever is getting a commission based on clicks to the site ("Carly R." had a url address under "her" name that we decided to not include ), whoever is getting a commission on the total sales. Are we really to believe that UMass officials are simply "looking out for the students"?

--Mr. D, look, what a great deal on ipods! We should just let the students know so they can get that great deal. Oh how they love their ipods so! Such a beautiful discount to mark the beginning of their summer.

--Mr. Y [excuse the gender construct], why, what a thoughtful idea. Splendid indeed. They will adore it!

WE THINK NOT. Rather, we think it goes something like:

--Mr. D, if we disseminate this information to 35,000 people and make sure that the email arrives in their INBOX and not their SPAM folders that are designed to catch this kind of sleezy marketing strategy (imagine "Carly R." doesn't even get a last-name!!) we have the possibility of earning 10% on sales, $2/click to "Carly R.'s" webpage, and we can track who clicks when so we know who to send future ads to. That's nearly a million dollars in revenue.

THAT'S MORE LIKE IT.

So who is to blame for this? Someone high up at UMass. Who is making the money? Obviously not some "Carly R." (and could they at least have the decency to give "her" a last name?) By not giving her a last name they are announcing to the student body that folks on our campus are stupid -- not only are they covering up some UMass scam (we'd be willing to bet that someone in OIT designed the ipod page that "Carly R." represents), we the students are dumb enough to think that 1.) "Carly R." exists, 2.) that "Carly R." is the sleezy marketing trickster who somehow got approved by UMass officials to be able to send out a massive email, 3.) that "Carly R." isn't really "The People in Power at UMass-Amherst"

To summarize: those in power are making money off of the students AND calling them dumb. What should we do about this?

48 Comments:

  • At 10:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Would you mind if you got an invite to purchase season tickets to the UMass Football games? Our football team is one of the best in the country, will be competing for the national championship and is an incredible entertainment value. You can contact UMass (not me) if you are interested and I hope you are!

     
  • At 7:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I think it is borderline corrupt to allow "certain people/companies" to use the UMass email system to promote a product that has nothing to do with UMass. IPODS, electronics, etc. It begs the question: who is getting a commission here? What UMass official is allowing for this person/group to advertise? What does UMass/the one turning his or head head get in return? And who is looking into this? We're talking about a lot of money in potential advertising/commissions here...

    But, if the item is linked to UMASS (like football tickets for the UMASS team) and UMASS is selling them (and it is made clear), then that makes more sense. Right now you have someone with a name like John D. selling ipods at a "special discount" to UMass students. That is unethical and someone is making a nice little side-salary on that scam.

     
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