A message from me...but not!

Back when my wife Kate and I had our wedding reception in June, we hired a local photographer, the sister of one of our friends. She worked out very well, and we were very happy with the results.

The photographer partners with a site called Pictage, to allow online photo review and print selection. Many of our friends registered for the site so they could also purchase pictures from the event. All fine, all good. Until...


Until Monday, when my friend Laura Atkins received an email message sent by Pictage. The "friendly from," the text associated with the from address, was "Kate & Al Photos."

Wait a minute--
what are my name and my wife's name doing in the from address of an email message we did not send?

I received one of these messages myself on Friday, leading me to reach out to Pictage's email service provider, asking them to investigate what's going on here and get back to me.

See, my understanding is that it's not cool to send a message claiming to be from me, when I had no input over the content of the message. I certainly didn't initiate that message.

In fact, this is something that the FTC takes a pretty dim view of. Check out the FTC/Jumpstart settlement, from 2006. One of thee things the FTC alleged in that matter was that Jumpstart was sending messages that claimed to be from the friend, but were not from the friend. Jumpstart settled with the FTC for $900,000.

The net result there is that most savvy marketers and email service providers would never send a message that claims to be from anyone other than themselves, unless the message in question was actually initiated by that other party, and unless that other party had some control over the message content.

I find it hard to trust somebody who is going to put my name in the from address of emails they send without my knowledge or consent. The messages are really from Pictage, not from me, and I think it is deceptive to try to suggest otherwise.

Not to mention, as Laura points out, these people didn't even opt-in to emails: Registration is not permission!

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