A Tale of Two ISPs (and Data Protection)

Something happened to me this week than made me think about corporate responsibility, about Data Protection, and about doing the right thing. My Hosting Company - PoundHost - set a special offer email to their clients. Unfortunately they did what every sane person fears - they cc'd their entire client list visibly. A mistake a lot of people have made, and not a good one to make - however I'm sure they learnt a lot from doing it and won't do it again. It's not enough to send me away from a company who have been incredibly good in the years I've been with them, providing a fast response, helpful data center staff, and a quality service. Poundhost aren't the prettiest, best spec'd, most technologically advanced company in the world, but I like them - so I'll stick with them and support them as they seem to be coming from a good place. 

However, a few house afterwards I got an email from one of their competitors - Rapidswitch - specifically offering PoundHost customers a reward for switching to them. Opportunistically seizing on PoundHost's mistake, an abusing the list to their own needs.

This wound me up no end.

Why? Well, this is the tactic spammers take, and in my opinion a company working in the digital realm should not promote those tactics. Poundhost made an honest mistake, and apologised for it. Rapidswitch acted on that in a way which promoted bad practise. When challenged by me they didn't appologise, but blamed poundhost for me receiving grotesque images (something they can't prove - unless they are sending them), and basically supporting the position of spammers "We did take advice on this and we were informed that your email address was in the public domain as a Poundhost customer, so it would not be illegal to email you. Your email address was CC'd in an email from Poundhost earlier on Monday and from there it spiralled into the public domain." 

No. No no no no no no no. My email address is not fair game because someone makes a mistake, and I don't want to live in a world were companies can make that call. They would me up because they did not act responsibly, and demonstrated the worst side of human nature - no co-operation, no understanding, just opportunistic back stabbing. Companies - especially in digital media - should be doing the best to promote good practises, and spamming is not a practise to support, whatever the source of it.

I'd hope that everyone else who got that email from PoundHost would think "you know what, they made a mistake, I might do that myself one day, so I'll just let it slip and not abuse the data I have access to". The more people that act like that the more it will happen. But when a company sets a precedent by acting the wrong way, others are sure to follow. 

So, at the end of this, I come out supporting the Rocky of the two, they ain't pretty and they ain't the best, but they are determined and taking the right path. So, if you ever have to make the choice between these two companies, I'd recommend Poundhost.

published 2009.09.23 updated 2017.06.26
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