Everyone is familiar with SPAM. Sadly, it’s still growing exponentially and bigger problem than ever. Thanks to services like ExchangeDefender (sorry kids, ABP) I never get any of it. I average about one per week and I’m by far the #1 target at ownwebnow.com, getting more mail than even the RMM alerts that hit our mail server. So SPAM, to me, is not an issue.
BACN is. I recently mentioned it and here is how wikipedia describes it:
Bacn (pronounced “bacon”) is email which has been subscribed to and is therefore not unsolicited, but is often not read by the recipient for a long period of time, if at all. Bacn has been described as “email you want but not right now.”
Bacn differs from spam in that the emails are not unsolicited: the recipient has somehow signed up to receive it. Bacn is also not necessarily sent in bulk. Common examples of bacn messages include news alerts, periodic messages from e-merchants one has made previous purchases with, messages from social networking sites, and wiki watch lists.
Here is how I describe it: Crap you don’t want but at the time of subscription you either don’t know you don’t want it and definitely don’t anticipate the volume at which you’ll be hit. BACN is like that annoying twitter friend you’ve got that updates their status 5,000 times a day making it clear they are either bored at their job or paid to flood their status.
BACN senders are very aware of the annoyance their mail causes.
There is an entire science behind it.
For example, the ones that clearly make money from BACN will not allow a safe unsubscribe link that will automatically remove you. They will instead redirect you to a page where they will list dozens of “topics” and guilt you into getting a lower-volume subscription. Nearly every legitimate BACN sender has an option that clearly recognizes they are slamming your mailbox as often as possible because they know you’ll buy if they hit you at the right time! Obviously, you were at one point tempted to buy stuff from them so by offering you coupons, incentives, alerting you to sales, discounts and special events will eventually lead to another transaction.
In the western culture, there is nothing quite as sinful as missing out a deal. It’s on the same level as volunteering to be robbed.
As a small business owner, you love bacn. It keeps you in the know. It keeps you informed. It keeps you involved. It gives you an edge over all the other suckers in the market that pay the full price and with perceived unlimited competition – you will not unsubscribe.
The Tipping Point
Every small business owner and startup needs bacn.
You need those newsletters. You need those sale alerts. You need those industry news.
You need to build a business. And as you build a business you need to have as tight of a relationship with your suppliers and potential vendors as possible.
What separates winners and losers is the knowledge.
Eventually… the cost of perpetual distraction exceeds the value received from staying informed and connected.
If you have a mature business with the basics figured out – you know how to use your billing platform and have a plan on how to grow and make it more efficient, if you have set your cloud services up and have a marketing plan behind them figured out for the next few quarters, if are going with product/service A and have a tight relationship with the vendor of the said product, it’s time to remove bacn from your diet.
Unsubscribe. Forget. Die.
I can’t really advise you to unsubscribe from that 1-800-flowers.com bacn.
I can tell you that after running this business for years and sending countless flowers, candy teddybears and other things not a day goes by that I am not reminded that I need to send something to someone. My employees made fun of me for having my dog’s birthday pop up in my reminders during a board meeting last week. You get the idea.
What I can advise you on is business-oriented bacn.
If you’re no longer running the network operations for your company, perhaps you shouldn’t be subscribing to the Own Web Now NOC blog. Or any other network operations or software update blog out there.
But you don’t unsubscribe. You subscribe whoever is in charge of that business in your company and make them accountable to report to you about it.
One thing I’ve said countless times in 2010 around Own Web Now is: I don’t care about the excuses. I only care about the results. At this point, I simply can’t be a part of everything and I’ve seen every collosal failure, dropped ball, flaky vendor, missed promise and underdelivered contract a man can see. I don’t care to hear about it. I only care to know when we’re doing something, not how we’re getting there. “That’s why you have a job.”
There needs to be a level of leadership in passing on how we do things down the management chain.
The BACNless Future
Today I unsubscribed from the last of my BACN.
This past weekend I uploaded over 10GB of BACN to a shared account on our Exchange box and completely removed myself from it.
As a result, a grand total of 17 external messages hit my Inbox today. I was able to help one of my partners in New Zealand that I’ve known for years address an Exchange IP restriction issue via MSN. Few months ago, his email would have been dragged into “today” folder and addressed when “today” ended in the Vlad world. And in the Vlad world, Monday is a week-long event. That’s if I wasn’t busy – if I was, it would have been forwarded to someone in the org with access and resources to assist.
When we finalized the Shockey Monkey development agenda, I realized that I can no longer rely on email as a business tool. It really isn’t. There are too many loose ends, too many unfinished conversations, improper and incomplete followups or contact information. Retrieving who said what to whom at what point is impossible. Doing business in the modern world makes email a relic of the memo era. It’s become a 21st century receipt shoebox for all the ecommerce and a toilet in which business opportunities are flushed with the rest of the @#% that makes up your inbound mail. I’ll end the rant there.
This blog started as a means to an end to a huge mailing list I ran out of my Outlook & majordomo mailing list. Today, having received the least amount of mail this century, I’m looking forward.
Take the time to look at what you spend your time doing. Then free it up.