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A former member
It has come to my attention that there has been some misuse of the business cards and emails that are passed out at the meetings. This contact information is to only be used for actual web design and programming networking. Unless you have permission from someone, so not contact them about anything else.

If you want a website made and/or want contract work, that is one thing. Contacting someone about some other money making endeavor is not acceptable and brings bad mojo to the group. If I get any sort of complaints about any specific person abusing the group contact information from now on, they will be immediately removed from the group. This is the only warning.

Sorry to send out such a stern note, but it is apparently necessary. If you have any questions pertaining this email, please feel free to contact me. Also feel free to report any abuse.

-- Al Steffen
Denver Web Design and Program Meetup Organizer
http://webdesign.meet...­
A former member
Post #: 10
"Abuse" and "Misuse" are strong words. Perhaps there's simply a difference in philosophy for a MeetUp group or as I've found with 500 strong left- and right-brained MARKETING clients, an aversion to MARKETING in general.

Most of us are in BUSINESS, either as contractors or entrepreneurs, or open to the next job opportunity, so SELL, BUCK, HELP (each other), eMAIL, XREF, CALL (follow-up), SEND (referrals), etc, should not be considered dirty 4-letter words.

Also, let's look at MeetUp's intention from their website: "Meetup Groups help people:

Find others who share their interests - ala WebMastering and Design
Get involved locally + Learn, teach, and share things - is that restricted only OUR service? How about the process and sharing what else we know with the group?
Make friends and have fun - let's keep it light - certainly our meeting environment indicates a loose structure
Rise up, stand up, unite and make a difference - means pushing the envelope, getting out of the box, drawing outside the lines
Be a part of something bigger - ala our amazing globally-indexed and referenced websites

For instance on Learn, teach, and share things: in addition to capital raising technology and years of website marketing that I'm willing to share free with this group's members this year, I've been sharing a dynamic networking technique: focus on a core clientele that would be memorable to our associates, such as a small maufacturing companies in Metro Denver without websites, artists without a website or excellent presentations, or real estate websites without video presentations that automatically start up on the home page. Not only gives a focus for the long term, but immediately stimulates possible referrals. Also, connecting by a 3-way call is the most powerful way to connect a lead to an associate (and a way to monitor the initial conversation).

Business cards are an invitation to connect. If anyone does not want a connection after a polite initial eMAIL, he or she is certainly free to ask to be removed, especially if follow-on eMAIL contains the required CAN-SPAM 2003 REMOVE instructions. In addition, commercial ISPs are very good about handling true abuse. So, I think we are adult enough to be able to handle this for ourselves without cluttering up our MeetUp group message boards and eMAIL.

Comments?

Kent Johnson, WebMaster
CompWellness.net, FxBetter.com, ExcellentHouses.comProfitableWellness.com­
David
DaveJW
Denver, CO
Post #: 6
Question,
What was the exact nature of the ham/spam? Specifically was someone adding people to a mailing list (That would piss even me off) or was someone sending individualized (written one at a time and referencing something brought up in a meetup discussion between the sender and reciever) emails.

I saw the response and they make a valid argument except for the opt-out option. I don't trust those for good reason.

Perhaps the person(s) who sent the unsolicited and off topic emails thought they were doing the right thing. A little while ago I had to explain to a client that by contracting me to site-scrape a list of sites for snail mail addresses & Email addresses and then emailing these individuals could be potentially illegal and considered as unsolicitied email. The client was shocked because as they explained to me, they believed what they were doing wasn't spam. Their reasoning was that they had met the majority of the people involved at a trade-show and wanted to thank them for coming to the expo... nothing more.
A former member
Post #: 11
Good questions and comments.

First email - individualized follow-up to a business card exchange. Second, "newsletter" email, with an opt-out from a now known individual - easy and safe to opt-out.

This is normal networking and information dissemination to help fellow members that has been used in business-to-business groups for decades, and part of the mission of MeetUp groups.

Those in a business - as owners or employees - do that nasty SELL thing at least five times every day:

SELL ourselves to start working
SELL the Universe that we should be successful - the Law of Attraction then goes to work
SELL our associates that we are competent and worthy of success
SELL our customers or management that they should continue to use or employ us
SELL new customers into our business or company

So let's make SELL our friend, not our enemy, and embrace decent SELLing systems. For eschewing them only hurts our own SELLing.
A former member
Post #: 7
First email - individualized follow-up to a business card exchange. Second, "newsletter" email, with an opt-out from a now known individual - easy and safe to opt-out.

I think it may be a bit presumptuous to think that simply because you have exchanged business cards with someone that that person now "knows" you. What you really have is acquaintanceship; they know "of" you but they don't "know" you.

Because of this, it is a leap of faith to assume that they trust you enough to actually remove them from an email mailing list ... especially since you signed them up to receive the newsletter without their knowledge or consent.

You may be following the letter of CAN-SPAM, but most people recognize the law as the dismal, ineffective failure that it is. While you may be honest in your efforts to remove all those that ask from your lists, because they are only "aquainted" with you (rather than actually "knowing" you) they are as likely to believe that you'll remove them from your list as they are likely to believe that the various "RoLEX" and "VIagRa" peddlers will remove them from their lists. Thus, rather than ask you to remove them from your list -- an effort that has been entirely ineffecutal in the past when dealing with other unwanted email -- the person has asked the Meetup manager to handle it; an entirely appropriate response, in my opinion.

Rather than assume that because a person met you they now want to be on your mailing list (a move that would absolutely alienate people like me), perhaps a better solution would be to send them the individualized follow-up email and then a sample newsletter with a link to the newsletter opt-in form on your website. You may not be sending your newsletter to as many people, but at least you'll know that the people who are getting it actually want what it is that you're selling.

Finally, you are right, "selling" shouldn't be a dirty word. After all, most people in the group design sites professionally, and the learning the art of salesmanship is something that all of us could likely benefit from. That being said, not everyone comes to the group to make business contacts ... some actually come to learn new techniques or just to hang out with fellow geeks. I think that Al is simply asking that these people's wishes be respected and that sales pitches be confined to those that are actually interested, rather than those who happened to be present.
A former member
Post #: 225
The people that contacted me were upset that they were getting emails unrelated to thier profession and contrary to the focus of the group. They had handed out the cards thinking that there was a possibility of web page work or even for them to send work out to people. Some are even handing them out in case others have web page construction related questions that can be answered by them.

Unless it is mentioned at the time of the exchange, they do not expect to be getting emails and phone calls related to another form of business. This is a place to share information on web construction. There is nothing wrong with selling, but this group does have a focus and me and others would appreciate it if the selling was kept in context.

As for the opt-out links on emails, I don't trust them either. I just flag them as spam since all it does to respond in my mind is confirming that someone is reading the emails. Emails should be sent on an opt-in basis. It is friendlier and more polite in my opinion. Yes, it is harder to get people on a list, but at least there is a better chance that someone will read the mailing and waste less bandwidth. If that first email had said something like "I do this sort of stuff, if you are interested, reply back and I can add you to a newsletter", that probably would have been fine too. At least it would have been opt-in and solicited. It may not be spam to you, but it never is to the person sending it. People who didn't want to get it in the first place will consider it such and get upset that it ever came to them in the first place.
A former member
Post #: 226
Looks like Nathan hit a lot of the same points I the time it took me to respond.
A former member
Post #: 12
Interesting - I've not emailed Al, Dave or Nathan - so I don't really understand where your beef is - sounds more esoteric than a real problem.

To tell you the truth, I really don't have time to deal with this anymore, so I've deleted you all from my eMAIL list and am deleting myself from the group.

I'm off to the Millionaire Mind Intensive this weekend, where the LOVE to network about making money, and next week completing negotiations with people with $10K to $100K to at a minimum triple their money each year, after my commissions.

Have a Great Holiday Season.
A former member
Post #: 228
For the record, the reason I have a beef with it is that I am the organizer and primary contact for the group. Because of that, if someone does have a problem with something or someone, I hear about it and it is my responsibility to remedy it. I heard from a few people about this and they were all a bit irritated by it. I was also when I heard about it.
Andrew
user 2461880
Boulder, CO
Post #: 1
Ummmmm...

http://en.wikipedia.o...­
http://en.wikipedia.o...­

Treat this as an intervention.
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