Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

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bobbofallenstar
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Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by bobbofallenstar » Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:50 am

I really struggled with whether or not to post this but I think it's important. While I got so much out of all the classes I went to this weekend, I have some significant concerns about the Achieving Success with Your Music seminar with Sydney Alston. It wasn't the fact that the session was a Discmakers “infomercial” disguised as a class, though that was certainly irritating. It wasn't even the fact that Sydney clearly stated he didn't write his own presentation, but rather it was supplied to him by the president of Discmakers, which was pretty surprising considering the general high caliber of TAXI presenters. No, what bothered me was that I believe some of the information provided was misleading at best and downright unethical and possibly illegal at worst, and this is not the type of behavior that should be recommended as a best practice by the TAXI community. Sydney was talking about his time in his band and how he and other bands “shared” their email list with each other. This got him over 40,000 names on his email list. With this list he was able to secure endorsement deals with Jagermeister and Trojan Condoms - in return for giving these companies access to his compiled email list. He also said that he would add any email address that he came across, in any context - band-related or not - to his email list and "Let them decide that they don't want to be on my list." This sounds suspiciously close to email harvesting and spamming to me.I treat my mailing list like family. I don't share it with anyone else - I've been offered endorsement deals where they have asked for our mailing list and I have turned them down. I use an opt-in subscription based system to manage my list. Each email specifies that folks are receiving the email because they signed up with our band's mailing list and provides an "Unsubscribe" option if they so choose. After doing some research today into the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, I was surprised to discover that email harvesting is only illegal if the website provider has explicitly stated that they will not make that information available to other parties. As of today I will also be adding the following statement to my website and mailing list tools, “We will not give, sell, or otherwise transfer your email address to anyone else. Ever.” It's important to me that our fans know we value their privacy and believe that any violation of that privacy is a gross misuse of the trust they placed in us. It's disappointing to learn that a TAXI-endorsed presenter would not only endorse, but actively encourage, otherwise.

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Re: Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by mojobone » Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:54 pm

I wouldn't call that bad information; it's fairly common practice in some circles, and fairly representative of the short-term thinking in some industries. (as it happens, I have some musician friends that are endorsed by Jaegermeister-they also use and enjoy the product) It may be that the method under discussion is unlikely to ever come back to bite you in the @$$, but legally speaking, the phrase, “We will not give, sell, or otherwise transfer your email address to anyone else. Ever.” very likely could. Given certain provisions of the Patriot Act, any electronic information in your possession could be viewed and used by third parties without your knowledge. Beyond that, you'd probably have to give up such info under a court order.I can also imagine some conditions where it might benefit your fans to have you share their email addy, and some of them might want to opt in for additional prizes, sweepstakes and discounts, so long as they're approved by someone they trust; namely you.
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Re: Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by bobbofallenstar » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:32 pm

If the government is demanding that I turn over my email list - I have bigger problems.It may be common practice but that does not make it right or ethical.

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Re: Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by Casey H » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:09 am

I wasn't at the class and I am not defending any particular practice. I think this is something you should contact taxi directly about--- call on the 800 number up top or send an email. Sometimes, the forum isn't the best vehicle for this type of feedback.If I get email because I got on some list (it happens all the time), if there is an "unsubscribe" option, it doesn't bother me that much. If there is no such option, it is much more annoying. Every once in a while I am glad I got on the particular list. Also, in my spam filter I can simply add that email address. Can anyone survive today without a spam filter? I mean with the banks suddenly needing all my info confirmed, the guy from Nigeria wanting me to help him with millions of dollars, the 'keep it up all night' promos, etc, etc... Casey

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Re: Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by mojobone » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:01 am

Nov 9, 2009, 10:32pm, bobbofallenstar wrote:If the government is demanding that I turn over my email list - I have bigger problems.It may be common practice but that does not make it right or ethical. Never said it was right or ethical, my point was that the NSA can get it if it exists in an electronic format without asking anybody, not that they'd necessarily even care to look. (unless all your songs are about blowing stuff up) Also that you can ask your fans/customers for a little more flexibility in how you use their email addy.
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Re: Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by bobbofallenstar » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:27 pm

Gotcha. I understand your point.Is there a market for songs about blowing stuff up? I haven't seen that listing yet.

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Re: Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by shorty » Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:50 pm

Although, there is some thought about hooking up with other artists and 'sharing' fans. Maybe not necessarily through actual email list trading, but in other ways. I did a show and invited two other artists, a headliner and a friend of mine who opened. I invited my fans, and they invited theirs. We more or less shared fans, not emails, but as artists we were exposed in each others emails and promotional materials. I included their websites and other info so my fans could check them out before the show, and I believe they did the same. As a result, we ended up sharing fans. I picked up some new ones and so did they. Of course, I picked artists similar to myself.I also promote artists that I feel my fans will like and enjoy, throw out a link, and steer them in that direction. I don't overdo it either. I'm also a fan myself, and I hate it when someone sends me a mass email that contains more than 1 artist. I think that it cheapens it and makes it less special to fans when you as an artist, someone they love and trust, thrusts a bunch of artists at them and says here all these guys are worth listening to. It reminds me of this salesman that I had come to my apartment one time. He had some great deal he wanted to show me, so I said, sure I'll take a look. To my surprise, he wasn't just pedaling one product/company, the guy had 9 different companies he was promoting. He was selling car products, health products, life insurance, and I can't remember all else. I was so overwhelmed, that I didn't buy anything. I thought it was great he was trying to make a living, but I remember him being the guy selling everything and can't remember one company he was working for.I guess what I'm saying, is that there really is something to what he's saying, sharing fans.

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Re: Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by simonparker » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:13 am

Hey Bob:As you and others are probably aware, this is common practice. In fact, I sign up for an e-mail newsletter at one site, and all of a sudden, my e-mail is flooded with spam from places I never knew existed. While I appreciate your desire to keep your fans list private, it is common practise. Welcome to the world of business.
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Re: Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by mojobone » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:40 am

Of course there's a right and a wrong way to do it-you have to make it easy to unsubscribe for any reason or none at all, and see to it that you're not giving your fan list to spammers. I don't trade my personal fan email lists at all, but I can imagine a few situations where I might. I have a band that does a specific genre, and those fans are generally happy to hear about other great bands that play our kinda music, so we'll probably trade lists with some of our trusted promoters in the near future. I agree with Shorty, though, the best way to share fans is to trade gigs.
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Re: Ethical concerns with one of the TAXI sessions

Post by bobbofallenstar » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:12 am

I agree with the best way to share fans is to trade gigs.Really my issue is with the idea of trading mailing lists. Let's say that you and I are doing a show together - our two bands - You'd send a email blast out to your fans and say, "Oh and by the way - we're playing with the blah band that night. If you want to check them out, here's their website." That is completely different from you and I talking and me saying "Dude, I have 1000 names on my mailing list - you have 1000 names on your mailing list - let's trade lists then we'll both have 2000." And then continuing this practice with a bunch of different bands. THAT IS WHAT I THINK IS SKETCHY.I'm all for getting fans in new and inventive ways but that is not a way I want to gain fans. Maybe I won't be successful in his terms of success. But I can sleep well at night knowing my fans are my fans because they chose to be.

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