Image via Wikipedia
Translators who buy email lists of industry contacts to send their CV to, beware: you could be making enemies of the very people you wish would hire you.
As editor-in-chief of Wired, an online magazine reporting on technology trends across all spheres of society, Chris Anderson is a key industry leader. So if you were promoting a new book about technology, you might think he’d be a good contact to send your press release to, right?
Wrong. Chris gets over 300 of unsolicited emails a day with just this kind of untargeted, randomly emailed information, and has resorted to drastic measures. On his blog, he has published the email addresses of anyone who has sent him “inappropriate” material over the past month. Plain as day, for all the world to see.
As always with these kinds of posts, it’s the discussion that takes place in the comments afterwards that is most interesting. Some people think he should get over it, and that unsolicited emails are a tool freelancers simply have to use if they are to compete with the big boys. Others cheer his actions, and love the idea that spam bots are likely to harvest these addresses as they crawl the web, resulting in a deluge of spam for their owners. In fact, even some of the named and shamed emailers themselves have responded, with (it must be said) some legitimate and valid explanations as to why they sent him these emails in the first place.
It’s worth pointing out too that Chris doesn’t take issue with unsolicited emails per se. He says:
…I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that’s why my email address is public). Everything else gets banned on first abuse.
I think many of us can see ourselves at both sides of the face-off here. Emailing agencies to look for work is a key (and often very necessary) marketing strategy for many start-up translators. But in an era of MySpace friends and Facebook pokes, it’s too easy to forget that commercial email is a whole different ballgame. Taking a legal eagle view doesn’t help as there seems to be little real, practicable guidance, especially when working across borders.
I have a few ideas of my own on this, but until I pull it into post, I’d be interested to hear: what do you think? What’s the best way to approach a potential work provider without being branded a pest?