Is this permission?

I received an email the other day that went something like this: "Hello, A media site you recently visited would like you to participate in their user-survey. Your input will be combined with other users' across the country to improve their site. To encourage your participation, we are offering a chance to win one of two Apple iPads. Two participants will receive an Apple iPad 2 (valued at $499). To access the survey, simply click on the hyperlink below. We estimate that it will take approximately 15 minutes to complete."

Well, I know which media site it was, because I gave them a tagged (unique) address. When you send me an email to, it's not exactly a secret. Regardless, I'm peeved -- why is this media site giving my email address to a third party? Why is this third party emailing me? Where is the permission? Where is the informed consent?

Keep in mind, when emailing a subscriber, it is EXTREMELY bad from to try to be coy about where you got the recipient's email address from. Seriously-- only spammers do this. And this email is in fact spam. I didn't give permission to this survey company to email me. The mail was not transactional; this notification was not a necessary part of my subscription to the online media site. It was probably quite legal, due to some clause or other in the media site's privacy policy. But that doesn't make it right, and it doesn't change the fact that this is a very poor practice.

I would have mentioned this all to the survey company themselves, but the email address they emailed me from doesn't seem to work.

Survey companies, I challenge you to get with the modern age. I understand the desire to do surveying a certain way, but whatever this model is, it conflicts with email best practices and permission. It's time to modify the model.

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