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Sunday, December 09, 2007

American Airlines Spam

American Airlines frequent flier miles program web page has check boxes for what sorts of spam you wish to receive, and one box for one's monthly statements and important account information (major policy changes, etc.). I only check the latter and leave all the promotional boxes unchecked--yet still they continue to spam me with crap like "Hurry, Your Chance At An Unforgettable Experience Ends Soon".

After a long phone conversation with them, it turns out they do intentionally spam anybody who's signed up for monthly statements, even those who have quite explicitly unchecked all promotional boxes. And they don't see a problem with this. The woman I talked to had lots of anecdotes about people who love their promotional emails, yadda yadda, and went on at length about how much money these promo emails make. I pointed out to her that the latter reasoning applies equally well to Viagra spam. Needless to say, she failed to grasp the analogy. I tried to convey to her that these emails--to people like me who are clearly wishing to avoid them--are only generating negative feelings toward the company and losing them money in the long term. Again, deaf ears. It took me a while to distill the proper question to ask her, but I finally asked: Did she truly believe that most of the people who had unchecked all of the promotional email boxes would respond positively to these promotional emails. She said yes.

Is she right (are customers--even those who claim not to want spam--really that susceptible to promotional material?), or is AA shooting itself in the foot?

Anybody here have an American Airlines AAdvantage account and run into this issue? Am I the only one who this really pisses off? (Of note, her suggested alternative for how to stay abreast of important policy changes or, say, unexpected activity on my account? Poll the site regularly. And if I had to do this for every company I had an affiliation with? Shrug.)

My main point to her was simply that they need to draw a hard line between bona fide legal/administrative account updates, and promotional material. Her consistent comeback was simply that these promotional campaigns make AA lots of money, so it's not going to change. She also claimed that in all her years of service, she'd never had anyone complain before--as if I were the only guy on the planet who had a problem with this. Please, chime in if you have an opinion here. And if you have an AA account, let me know if you'd be game to call in and express your opinion on the matter, and I will procure a name and number to call.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com