Thursday, March 17, 2011

Microsoft BizSpark

I bought a new computer last year, and bought Microsoft Office along with it. As part of the installation procedure, MS Office invited me to subscribe to an online newsletter called Microsoft BizSpark.

After a couple of issues, I realized that the newsletter wasn't useful to me. I tried to unsubscribe. I have tried repeatedly to unsubscribe, and haven't been successful yet. BizSpark always responds to my Unsubscribe request with a question. No matter how I answer the question, my response is not acknowledged. I know there's still a live body at the other end of the line, because an ungrammatical period at the end of the question, a ".", has been quietly replaced with a dash. But they keep sending me this stupid newsletter.

I post this here in the hope that some poor contractor or intern at Microsoft, whose job it is to troll the Web on boring afternoons when there's nothing better to do, will see this posting and take care of unsubscribing me. Actually, since I truly did add BizSpark to my spam bucket, I may never know if it worked.

Here's the email trail for you to follow.

1. The newsletter

Startup success with Windows Azure, Windows Phone 7 and Internet Explorer 9 announcements, Twitter news and much more!
Tue, 01 Mar 2011 22:10:45 -0600
Microsoft BizSpark

[... newsletter deleted ...]
Microsoft respects your privacy. Please read our online Privacy Statement.

If you would no longer like to receive this newsletter, please email with the word “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

(That "Reply-To" address contained enough alphabet soup for a competent server to figure out exactly which subscriber was sending the Unsubscribe request, especially if the subscriber forwarded the whole newsletter to bzsnews as part of their Unsubscribe request, with headers intact.)

2. My unsubscribe request
From: Xxxxxxx []
Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 7:47 PM
To: BizSpark Newsletter
Subject: Unsubscribe
-------- Original Message --------
Startup success with Windows
[... rest of newsletter deleted here, but it was all in my Unsub request, with headers intact ...]

3. BizSpark's response

Subject: RE: Unsubscribe
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 18:12:53 +0000

What is the Company Name you are registered under in the BizSpark Program – we need that info to process your unsubscribe request.
[... and they left my entire Unsub request intact, even the attached newsletter ...]

4. My response to BizSpark's response, this time

You tell me. You're the ones with the big database of subscribers and all. Besides, I've already told you three or four times. (Check your email records; you'll see.) Why didn't you pay any attention those other times?
At least this time you fixed the grammar in your canned response to my Unsubscribe request.
You know what? I'll do your job for you. From now on, anything from goes into my spam filter.
It's an MSN/Hotmail/Live spam filter.
Brought to you by Microsoft.

End note: I want to make it clear that I'm not badmouthing Microsoft as a monolithic entity. A lot of people do that, and it's not right. Microsoft is a huge corporation, with business segments and divisions you don't even know about. Some of them deserve praise, and some of them don't. I have praised them in the past, right here at Zyzmog Galactic Headquarters. But this group doesn't deserve praise.

UPDATE, Nov 9, 2011:  My Hotmail/MSN account dumps directly into my mail readers, and so I seldom go online to see what's in my online InBox, etc.  Today I was online and I noticed two pieces of mail in my online Junk folder.  They were two identical copies of the Microsoft Bizspark 11/02/11 newsletter.  Microsoft's Hotmail had detected them as junk mail, and treated them accordingly.  They will automatically be deleted in a few days.

No comments: