Annoying, you say?

Really, there ought to be a law.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

This European pilot fish has a client whom he long ago learned can’t be argued with. She hears only what she wants to hear, believes only what she wants to believe, and does exactly as she pleases. So fish stays out of the way as much as possible, just providing what’s asked for. When he sees a potential problem on the horizon, he usually just addresses it, knowing that to bring it to the client’s attention would just be an invitation for complaints and arguments.

For example, the client decides she’d like to send a newsletter about her small business to her mailing list, so fish acquires a cheap mass-mailing solution and then converts each issue of the newsletter into HTML. When she decides she’d like to post the newsletter on her business’s Facebook page, fish provides her with a JPG version. But when the EU’s GDPR kicks in, he makes sure the newsletter is compliant without bringing the matter up with her. The newsletter mailings include working unsubscribe links, and he has the necessary access to the mailing platform to remove addresses upon request.

Then the client tells fish that she is going to start sending out the newsletter herself, using the JPG he provides. Fish is unsettled by this news, knowing that the JPG version, even if it includes the words “Click here to unsubscribe,” is not going to allow for working HTML links. Subscribers can click on the JPG all they want, but it’s never going to let them unsubscribe.

Fish’s experience with this client suggests that to bring up this problem will accomplish nothing; he will merely be subjected to a long rant against EU regulations. And it’s his perception that GDPR prosecutions over things like this are almost unheard of, so he lets the matter slide, confident that the client will soon tire of sending out the newsletter and put the duty back in fish’s capable hands.

Before that can happen, though, fish gets new insight into how little self-awareness this client has. As they are chatting one day, she laments to him, “I’m so annoyed with all the mass emails that are thrown at me. And do you know what? Even if I click on ‘unsubscribe,’ they don’t stop sending the emails!”

Sharky hopes you never unsubscribe from the Daily Shark Newsletter. And also that you’ll send me your true tales of IT life at

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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