Bye bye Naymz

by Volker Weber

bye bye

I have a few hundred contacts on XING, LinkedIn and FaceBook. Two have signed up for Naymz. Which keeps bugging me to sign up. No more.

Comments

Same with me. These invitations are ennoying.

Cem Basman, 2008-04-02

Same here. I also found Naymz to be pretty annoying. Now I'm getting requests to join Plaxo Pulse. I think I'll just ignore those.

Bob Congdon, 2008-04-02

I opted out of Plaxo a long time ago. They are keeping their promise to not bother me again.

Volker Weber, 2008-04-02

Plaxo users tend to use you as their secretary asking to update all kind of info. AFAIK, this process has to be repeated with everybody, unless member. I find this even more annoying and never respond to these requests.

Armin Roth, 2008-04-02

Volker,

No worries. We are not for everybody, and we don't get offended when people don't want to sign-up for Naymz.

Since we are a "new kid on the block" in terms of professional social networking, we are constantly getting asked the question "why Naymz when there is already LinkedIn?". We totally understand that LinkedIn (and Xing in Europe) have set the standard and that it is a pain to some people to be part of multiple social networks.

That being said, we do have a lot of members who seem to find our site pretty useful. We put together an overview of some of the features that makes us unique in the marketplace which can be found here.

Feel free to contact me directly if you have any specific questions.

Cheers,
Tom Drugan
Naymz Co-founder

Tom Drugan, 2008-04-02

Tom,

Personally, I was getting repeated Naymz invites...addressed to my dedicate LinkedIn mailbox.

One of my LinkedIn contacts had been kind enough to invite all of his contacts to join Naymz...of course these invites continue until you choose to opt out of them.

I thought spam was opt IN these days?

I've since left LinkedIn and terminated the email address...neither service appears to value my privacy.

Ben Rose, 2008-04-03

Hi Ben,

Our network invitation model is on par with most other social networks out there, including LinkedIn. Naymz sends out one invitation out to each individual that our members provide us addresses for as well as two reminders over the following 30 days. After 30 days, the invitation automatically expires. If the recipient of the invitation does not want to join someone's network, they only need to decline the invitation by clicking one button. They can also opt-out at anytime from receiving any invitations from us in the future by clicking the opt-out link at the bottom of every email we send (which LinkedIn does not provide).

If you have any recommendations on how we can make this less intrusive, we would love to hear them.


Tom Drugan, 2008-04-03

Tom - Clicking a "decline/opt out" button is something you generally would not do if you are not interested as it just validates the email address ripe for spam harvesting.

3 emails per user if they have not responded to an unsolicited request is too much, in my opionion. 1 is enough.

I've had the expiration email notice that an invite had expired - then today I get another email (from the same person on Naymz) starting the invitation process again (with a 15 day expiration).

Steve Castledine, 2008-04-03

@Tom - Steve is spot on.

I've worked in email admin for over a decade and it's always been best practice to NEVER follow a link in an unsolicited email...even to unsubscribe. Quite simply, you shouldn't need to unsubscribe from a service to which you never subscribed in the first place.

Clearly, your whole business model revolves around email marketing. Perhaps you should investigate alternate methods of making people aware of your product.

I've never signed up to Naymz, so can't specifically comment on your service, but harvesting these email addresses usually involves the person suppylying you with their MS Passport/GMAIL/Yahoo credentials in order for some code to interogate your address books for those services and send unsolicited (by the recipient) mail to the contacts it finds. Supplying your username/password combination for any of these services is usually in TOTAL breach of the terms of service. Quite simply, usually nobody can legally use your spam tools and by doing so could give their email provider a reason to discontinue their service.

Many of the readers here control email for corporate networks, thousands of recipients for us and potential customers for you. Just a quick copy paste and your blacklisted from the whole company. These kinds of dodgy email marketing techniques are what we hate with a passion and clog our spam filters all day every day.

One thing you are right about is that you're on a par with most other social networks...they're blocked too.

Ben Rose, 2008-04-03

@Steve - who invited you? Same person as invited me I suspect, but I'll save him the embarrassment of naming him here.

Chris Linfoot, 2008-04-03

@ Chris - probably but yes I respect the person too much to say. Anyhow I would not think it was their fault.

Steve Castledine, 2008-04-03

He was young and needed the money. :-)

Volker Weber, 2008-04-03

@Ben- As a marketer, it seems I have stepped into the dragon’s lair in terms of email marketing best practices and philosophies. I do appreciate the insight provided from your POV. While a large part of our growth has come via email marketing through the invitation model, it certainly isn’t our entire business strategy. Search engine marketing, word-of-mouth, and PR are just as important for us. We have had plenty of coverage from major media outlets which has helped tremendously. We believe we have taken the high-road in terms our email practices in relation to most social platforms that rely on viral growth through email invitation by allowing recipients to easily decline or completely opt-out from receiving another email from us ever again. Most social networks do not allow for this.

I hate spam as much as the next guy. It’s evident that you and most of the community here would prefer to see the email invitation model scraped altogether for all social networks. For better or for worse, this is how Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Xing, and every other social network have built their businesses. In theory, these invitations should come from trusted sources, however we are aware that this doesn’t always happen. We are continually looking for ways to improve the model.

@Steve- In terms of frequency, you might be right. We are going to take a hard look to see how important the reminders are. It’s not going to do us any good to if we are perceived to be an annoyance prior to giving someone the opportunity to interact with our brand and platform.

In the spirit of transparency, we are a small team of three people trying to build a useful product on a shoe-string budget. Sometimes there is a fine line between effectiveness and intrusiveness when it comes to marketing, and as an entrepreneur trying to grow a legit business it can be a hard line to find.

This discussion has been invaluable and I will certainly take this information and the associated sentiment back to my team and into consideration as we move forward.

Tom Drugan, 2008-04-03

@tom, one thing you might want to consider; the more an an invite looks like it was sent on behalf of your existing user, the less it looks like spam. It's a grey area. Ben is taking a pretty hard line, but I don't think a social network sending mail to a third party on behalf of its user, who provides the mail address, counts as spam. Sending it not at the direct request of a user, e.g. repeating the request is venturing out into no man's land. As is allowing your users to initiate spammer type behaviour, e.g. bulk sending of invites.

The look of the mail can influence how people feel about it too. If it's very heavy visually, containing lots of Naymz branding and boilerplate text then it looks and feels less like a person mail from an existing contact. It makes it look more like marketing spam.

I actually think that maintaining a list of users that don't want to hear from Naymz is a good idea. Maybe that can be achieved by keeping track of addresses you've sent mail to that never replied and automatically putting those addresses on a block list? At least blocked from auto invites. If your user wanted to invite a user they would have to send them a link manually from there own email.

Kerr Rainey, 2008-04-03

@Kerr, great input. We have definitely followed the philosophy of having the email appear with as little Naymz branding as possible and be sent from the inviter and addressed to the invitee. No images, logos, etc.

The opt-out which appears in the footer of each email is a permanent opt-out. We will never send an email again to that address regardless of who the requester is.

The problem with automatically adding addresses to our block list is there is certainly a good amount of individuals who don't accept an invite the first time around simply because they aren't willing to endorse and be a reference for the person who sent the first invite (Naymz is focused on the idea of endorsements). They may be willing to do this for a different person in the future. Regardless, that is an interesting approach/solution and may have some merit. We'll have to chew on that one. Very helpful, thank you.

Tom Drugan, 2008-04-03

Tom, when it comes to remiders, imho there's only one way to handle them correctly: Send an information to the *sender* of the invitation that the receiver didn't check in yet and *ask* whether another invitation should be sent.
Either, the sender has a strong enough relation with the receiver to pull him/her into your service or not. You can't help/support any "pull factor" with additional reminders.

Stefan Rubner, 2008-04-03

Tom,

Your explanation about how much you value the user input is pure politics.
I've been receiveing an invitation from Naymz a total of 6 times during the 6 months or so (from the same user requesting it). Every time the invitation "expires" within 30 or 15 days only to start over again a month later.

I will never sign up with your service and I'm actually telling people not to sign up either. Why? Because your service is bad? Not necessarily, but your spam tactis are and so you don't deserve success. Referring to other social networks is pretty lame, just because my neighbor steals from the grocery shop doesn't legitimate me stealing from the grocery shop now does it?

Good to know that I'm in an influencing position teaching and holding seminars on various IT and social networking related subjects and that my word counts heavily in many circles of influence. Bye bye Naymz Spam Inc!

Abraham Kozar, 2009-03-13

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