Klout’s recent email campaign may be backfiring spectacularly. The popular social
reputation site has begun sending emails to users to alert them when they’ve created a “moment”, the term they’ve given to posts and tweets that generate high response, like, or share rates. These “moments” contribute to the user’s score, which is on a scale of 0-100, the higher the better. Users with a high Klout score are often give perks-free samples, discounts, and other goodies. Letting users know that one of their posts has been noticed might have seemed like a great idea, but the company’s email notifications have been generating a high volume of complaints. Many users don’t care to be notified and are angry because they weren’t given a choice of whether they’d like to receive them or not. Some users had even forgotten they had an account on the site until they started getting the notifications, which may have been the campaign’s goal-getting people to want to visit the site.
The uproar over Klout’s new marketing campaign illustrates an important part. Launching a feature that will email users every time a specific event happens is just not a good idea unless you announce the feature and give them the choice to sign up for it or not. In fairness to Klout, they do provide a link to unsubscribe from the notifications at the bottom of each email (just as CAN-SPAM regulations require), but the fact that those emails have been considered by many to be unsolicited advertising has left the site in the position of having to defend itself from spam complaints and accusations. Not the results they’d been looking for I’m sure. Have you ever had an email marketing campaign backfire? Tell us about it! How did you handle it? What did you learn from it?