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What if your email address could demand respect?

Seth Godin on email stamps? I am surprised he simply doesn't "get it!'

Ok, Now I thought for sure Seth would be the first to say,- ˜just empower the consumer." But he did not . Now, I am a big fan of Seth and his insight regarding consumer respect. I've read many of his books and consider him a marketing genius, but Seth, this time your suggested "solution" is premature and incomplete. And this is what really puzzles me, Seth knows there is a better way; (That is - How about: All the benefits of email stamps, without the loss of anonymity, and without the cost/message! Now, there's innovation for you!)

I met Seth at none other than his seminar 'A-Day with Seth Godin.' Seth and I seemed to connect quite well, as it seemed that every word he spoke, regarding all the issues with advertising today, fit together so perfectly. I simply could not agree more.

  • Too many channels.
  • Marketers stretch the truth.
  • Consumers overexposed.
  • Many consumers are down right abused.
  • etc... etc.... etc.....

He even discussed how the consumer's attention value has been completely exploited by the owners of the value chain. At the time, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to express to Seth the idea; "Why not give the consumer the power to control their own value" - include them in the value chain in which they are such a vital part. After all, it's their value we're talking about, so why not simply include them? Don't charge for contacting the consumer, instead, leave the pathway for communications open and free, but allow the legitimate sender to prove respect for the consumer with a Cash Guarantee. Now, the marketer and consumer retain all of the advantages of free email, while the consumer gets an uncanny amount of respect. Why, because if they are not respected, "The consumer keeps the cash guarantee" - Not Yahoo, Not AOL - The Consumer!

Just think of the cool web resources that are the result of free email. Now I know one might say, if there is something out there you want, you should ˜white list" them. My answer to that; "No, No, No, that is not an answer!" Why complicate something as simple as email? I send it, you should receive it. If I've not respected you, you should have instant recourse. I call it - "Personal Value Control." Every consumer should have it on every form of personal communications. Cell phones, Home phones, email, VoIP - you name it. It's your contact space. You have made 'you' valuable, and therefore, you should be in control of that value. 'What a novel idea!'

Given Seth's track record of a) delivering consumer savvy information to marketers and b) ferreting out new leading edge gizmos, I'm stunned that he would fall back on such an outdated technique (such as postage stamps) to solve the problem of consumer respect. A 30 cent USPS stamp doesn't keep irrelevant junk from our postal boxes, so why does anyone feel that 1 quarter of one penny (that's $.0025 -or- approximately 1/12000th of the cost of snailmail stamp) is going to fix the irrelevant commercial email problem? All it will do is force the good guys to pay more and the consumer, to get less.

Come on Seth - It's time to jump outside the box on this one. Stamps are passÃ. They'll do nothing but inhibit the freedom email has brought to our door. Oh, and about the anonymity comment, don't get me started on that one! There are plenty of reasons why someone might choose to be anonymous. You simply can not connect respect to anonymity - No way, no how.

RSS is cool, but again, I want people (commercial senders included) to find me with stuff they think I'll find interesting, that's the goal of an inteligent marketer. And I don't want to sift thought a spam bucket in search of their message.

Give marketers the tools to empower consumers, then watch which channels consumers turn to for information.

For those of you that wish to take part in crafting a total solution - one that benefits, rewards, and creates incentive for every player in the email value chain (and still keeps desirable email free), I suggest you visit www.accountabilityinitiative.org. (Note: As of this posting, they don't yet have a place to register for joining in on the conversation, I am pushing hard to get that in there. If you visit before a collaboration forum is in place, send them an email requesting it get done sooner rather than later.)

Remember - Those that say it can't be done are usually just getting in the way of the people doing it.