I just discovered that some of you recently received a piece of spam that began, "dear first name". Apparently, it was sent to people who signed up for an audio call I did several months ago.

This is obviously not my idea, and I’m really upset about it.

I have no idea who got the note, and it probably would make things worse to email everyone on the list apologizing, so instead I’m posting about it.

This is simple: Permission Marketing means delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who WANT to get them. The key word is want. Make it easy for people to sign up, but then give them exactly what you promise.

If you sign up for thing A and the fine print says you get thing B, that’s not permission.

All I can do is apologize. I’ll try to work harder to make sure that people I work with get this through and through. Sorry.

[Here’s a note I just got from my friend who sent the ouch note:

Dear Seth and Seth Godin fans,

Even the biggest Seth fans like me and supporters of Permission Marketing screw up from time to time.  Today, that person is me.  I have egg on my face and give your readers a glaring example of what NOT to do to communicate with a permission-based list and to build relationships with customers and clients

…I accidentally sent an email to some folks who opted in JUST for the Seth teleseminar series earlier this year.  A big mistake…one that I didn’t realize until it was too late.  To make matters worse, I left the standard "dear firstname" at the top of the email.  What a brilliant disaster and royal mess.  I did exactly the opposite of what I intended to do – to send a relevant message to a small group who gave me permission to send emails like the one I did.

I can’t undo the damage, but I can apologize and can make sure that you and your readers know that it was not intentional.   I can only hope that you trust my integrity when I say that and trust that it won’t happen again.

I have learned the hard way what can happen when you send a hasty email without double-checking whether it’s going to the right people.

Moral: stuff happens. At least it wasn’t on purpose…]