Mar 18, 2010

Dear F@$*face

A while ago I was working with a client who had an issue with their data capture process.  The problem wasn't exactly with how the data was captured but what type of data they were collecting.

They specifically had a problem with the fact that there was no obscenity filter applied to some of the fields.  They thought it a problem that if someone signed up and called themselves "fuckface" for instance, that they would take issue when they received an email addressed to Dear Fuckface.

This raised a discussion around what's deemed offensive and to whom and whether a name such as this would cause damage to the brand.  Well that's a whole other discussion.

We finally installed an obscenity filter, which we advised wouldn't be the best solution due to false positives.  What if Dick Chaney wanted to sign up to their list?  Sorry Dick, no offers for you, you're name is too, well... dicky.  The only real solution would be to use a combination of the automated filtering and human checking - which is what they settled on.

So the reason for this post is that during this exercise, I decided to sign up to a bunch of newsletters using offensive names.  Only 1 out of 10 retailer newsletters rejected my offensive name.

I'm still getting regular emails from the others without alteration.  I wonder if they know and don't care or if they're oblivious to this?  In any case, it's something worth thinking about next time you look at your subscription process.