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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
29 Nov 2015
05:41:31pm
Do we have a club rule about approval & auction sellers sending bulk email sales pitches to our personal email accounts? I know that sellers are permitted to post notices here under this topic, but - and correct me if I'm wrong - they are not permitted to send messages to our off-site accounts? I don't mind getting one or two messages, but if every seller started sending messages, I would be drowning in spam!

Thank you in advance to the moderators for providing some clarification about these rules.
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Rhinelander
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Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
29 Nov 2015
05:48:44pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

From art. 2, sec. 5 of our Code of Ethics, part of the SOR bylaws:

Quote:

"The following actions are subject to being brought before the Volunteer Committee:

Using the membership list or any other collection of Stamporama member email addresses (i.e. from the Discussion Board, or the auction) for the purpose of sending unsolicited mass e-mails. (It is a mass e-mail if you are mailing the same email to many people who have not expressed a specific interest in what you are offering). "



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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
29 Nov 2015
06:12:05pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Thank you!

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fredcdobbs
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APS # 224327
29 Nov 2015
06:18:51pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

cardstamp, when you see this please remove me from your list, and please do not sell or trade my email address to other spammers.


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cardstamp
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29 Nov 2015
07:58:55pm

Approvals
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I was not aware of the rule and I I only sent this to a handful of people - not a mass email. I got a bunch of thank you notes for letting them know and several people said it was a great idea. I did the emails one by one and not a bulk email because AOL does not allow sending bulk emails. I had several of my regular buyers who said they DO NOT read the announcements on the message board so they prefer a message. Sorry, Steve

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
29 Nov 2015
08:58:19pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Perhaps it might be better to send the messages within the Stamporama messaging system?

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Doe
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29 Nov 2015
09:17:26pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Quote:

"Perhaps it might be better to send the messages within the Stamporama messaging system?"



I still think our e-mail addresses should be hidden. If we want someone to have our e-mail address, we can give it to them through a private SOR message.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
29 Nov 2015
09:41:37pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Quote:

"(It is a mass e-mail if you are mailing the same email to many people who have not expressed a specific interest in what you are offering)."



This appears to be the pertinent sentence to the rule. It appears by the rule that if the person sending the message only selects those members who have listed the collecting interest(s) in their profile as what the member is offering, then it is not a violation of the rule.

Would it be considered an "interest" if the member only sent a message to those who have purchased/traded from the member before? It is not considered spam in the outside world if someone sends you an email, and you have established a "relationship" with that person. Relationship meaning having communicated with that person in the past for social and/or commercial purposes.

I do not know the specifics of the message sent as I didn't receive one, nor do I know who all was on the distribution list. Those factors would have to be looked at to determine if the message violated the rules.

I think the term "bulk" could be construed to include messaging several people with the same message regardless of whether the message was sent at one time to all recipients, or singly to each.
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BobbyBarnhart
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29 Nov 2015
09:47:30pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I agree with Doe that those members who do not want their email address shown should have that option; it should be an "opt out" choice on their profile. Those of us who wish our email addresses to be displayed would need do nothing.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
29 Nov 2015
09:55:33pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I think that would be fine. However, in this thread, everyone (except one) who has posted here has indicated in their profile that they are willing to correspond with other members.

Members should review their profiles and update them periodically.

Members sending messages to several other members should respect the wishes of the members who indicate that they do not wish to communicate with other members.

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cardstamp
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30 Nov 2015
12:46:38am

Approvals
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Not to belabor the point anymore - since I will not send an email out again here, I only sent the emails to some of the folks who have selected stamps from my approval books in the past year. All I was communicating was the same basic information that I have posted in the approvals notices section of the discussion board. There was one addition - I was wishing everyone Happy Holidays and offering them a special FREE SHIPPING discount. This offer was only to select people. I did not send an email out to folks who have never dealt with me previously. Everyone I emailed I believe has YES in their profile to willing to correspond. I did state in the email - if they prefer not to get the emails in the future just to let me know. I have been doing the same type of email on BIDSTART for a few years and I only send them out once in awhile. I know a few of the folks I work with liked getting the notice - I will just send them a message internally from now on. Is this going to become like EBAY now and all communications have to be done within the site ? Sorry again, Steve

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BobbyBarnhart
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30 Nov 2015
01:36:02am
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Steve, I think we have pommeled you with our tongs much more than your innocent transgression deserves, so my post is just a general observation and personal opinion and not directed at anyone in particular.

IMHO, many of you are in the same boat as I: 50+ years of age and well seasoned with experiences of every ilk. One of those experiences happens to be the gradual, but steady, erosion of our privacy and an ever increasing encroachment upon our "private space." I do not expose myself in my profile in order to facilitate "junk mail" or "spam" of any description. When I indicate I am willing to correspond, I mean (as Merriam-Webster says) "to communicate with a person by exchange of letters," although I believe we can expand that definition to include email messages. The key here is "exchange." If your message is meant to inform, notify or announce something, without expectation or anticipation of a reply, it is not correspondence.

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lisagrant87
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30 Nov 2015
08:31:23am
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I agree with Bobby - poor Steve has been pummeled enough by now. I do, however, want to share my opinion. I see this as similar to a situation where I buy something from John Doe's Electronics because it happened to be the best option for me. John Doe then sends me multiple emails regarding his sales and new products even though I didn't necessarily intent to buy from him again. Yes, the occasional product may catch my eye, but overall, I consider it annoying emails.

I know Steve didn't intend to annoy anyone, so I would recommend that you (Steve) PM people and ask if they would like to receive emails (to their personal email) from you regarding your products and sales. If they would like to, you can then move to sending them emails. If they are not interested, no harm, no foul.

That's just my two cents...

Lisa

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
30 Nov 2015
08:41:17am
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I would like to clarify that I did not wish to name anyone specifically by starting this thread, I merely felt that this was an issue that needed to be addressed. This is not the first email I have received that was somewhat commercial.

Since we have begun to discuss the content and intent of this particular email, I would add that I did receive this email and I don't remember making any purchases from this seller, although I may have made a small purchase that I don't remember. The email was talking about material that I have absolutely no interest in. If the message had been to inform me about something within my collecting interests, I would have felt differently. Based on my history with the seller, I felt that if I was receiving this email, then the mailing was more extensive than just their most active buyers.

Privacy IS a major issue of our time. Stamporama has a great messaging system and to step beyond and use my personal email to generate sales I feel is just a bit much. The club has made generous changes to policies to accommodate those who use the site mainly for selling, but using our personal emails is going a wee bit too far.

I do apologize to Steve for being at the center of this discussion. I'm sure you meant no harm, but I felt that it was extremely important that the club had an open discussion to nip this practice in the bud.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
30 Nov 2015
10:16:34am
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

actually, the intent of the rule:

Quote:

""(It is a mass e-mail if you are mailing the same email to many people who have not expressed a specific interest in what you are offering).""



is to prohibit any kind of announcement, offer, or such for which the recipient has not expressly requested. Past purchases, comments on the DB, etc., are not sufficient reason to initiate contact.

what IS permissable is specific offer to a specific person based on that person's stated interests and the sender's offer that matches it, assuming the recipient indicates that s/he's willing to correspond.

Letting folks know that you're planning to offer stuff in the auction or approvals is never permitted, unless a recipient has specifically requested such announcements.

I hope the distinction is clear; if not, feel free to ask.

and this isn't directed at anyone; instead it's an effort to clarify

David
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Anglophile
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30 Nov 2015
11:25:16am
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I may be in the minority but I actually like the fact that member e-mail addresses are visible in member records to other members. I feel that it encourages better behavior on the part of members by reducing anonymity and it may deter bad actors from joining. Anyone can run a fully anonymized internet forum and the result typically is nasty posts because the identity of the poster is completely hidden. But if we want to operate on a club metaphor, then we ought to know each other a little better, and a little more, than the typical internet service. And, you can always use one of the free email services to set up an account just for this club or similar services, and keep the address you use for family or friends separate. I suppose that undercuts my point somewhat, but it's also problematic to manage too many addresses, so I would guess that the address used here by most members is one they care about, which should help encourage good behavior.

Chris

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
30 Nov 2015
12:26:26pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I think it is time for me to come out of the closet.
It Wasn't Me
I, like Steve Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Nail Bitinghad been sending emails to a small list (my list is under 20 names) of people who have bought from me in the past, and, for the most part, have indicated an interest in advance notices...usually for Book 24 hours in advance or announcing areas I am working on for the next books (and asking for specific interest).
New buyers are told about it and are invited to opt out if they wish. I have only included repeat buyers until recently, when I added some newer buyers names, buyers who for the most part I consider friends now! The goal has been to move my duplicates, and extra collections I no longer have any interest in, into the happy hands of others.

I have given them all the option to get off the list, or to indicate their collecting preferences, so that material not related to their interest is not communicated to them...a bit of extra work that I am working on perfecting.

I agree that blanket mailers are not accepted, but REALLY... a mailer to people who have bought from you, repeatedly, and were given the option to opt out...isn't it big brother going too far? I Don't Want To See
Now, I am not in it for the money (I calculated my time at under $1 an hour), and all is being recycled into more stamp purchases. I am also committed to making the Approval Book platform better, but I do think, as a collector, that these advance notices, especially in areas I collect, or from sellers I favor, are more than welcome Applause.
So I am really puzzled: Should I discontinue my practice, or consider those who did NOT opt out as an invitation to continue.
And all along I thought we wanted a congenial club like atmosphereClown, with as few rules as possible....so if you don't want to receive my notice..just let me know...but if you want to communicate directly and receive them...just do nothing!
I consider this well within the intent of the rule, or please the overlords overseers Laughing correct me.
And as far as Steve is concerned, please add me to any list you may have.
rrr...

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bobstew617
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30 Nov 2015
12:50:07pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

As one who is typically a rule enforcer around these parts, I actually fall on the side of Ralph and Steve here. To me,as long as any email has that "opt-out" clause clearly stated,I see no problem with doing it.

I thanked Steven for his email as I have bought from h several times.

Bob

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keesindy
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30 Nov 2015
01:17:17pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have responded to this thread. However, I just listed my first auction at SoR and, as far as I can tell, I must include my email address in my listing if I want to include PayPal as a payment option. If I'm mistaken in this regard, please let me know. If I'm correct, then I simply want to point out that preventing access to member emails is problematic for those wishing to sell on the site and also accept PayPal payments.

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
30 Nov 2015
02:29:36pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Thank you Ralph and Bob for posting comments about the other side of the coin. You raised some points that gave me pause to think which is always a good thing! Hopefully this discussion will raise awareness of the considerations to be made before sending group emails.

Good Discussion!!!

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
30 Nov 2015
02:54:04pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I agree with Bob and Ralph on this.

David, I don't read it that way in the wording of the rule. Maybe it needs to be clarified.

Tom, I'm not Tim, but if it were possible for the email address to be hidden at a member's option, then I'm sure that the system would still store the email address. I we need the email address as a condition of membership. It would certainly help to spot a bad email address from someone who might try to harm the system. Take StampWants as an example of this. Now and then a new person would register on the site. The next thing we know, there was porn advertising blasting all over the discussion area. The system, and I'm sure that we have those safeguards too here, could have those bad addresses (email and IP) to block further attacks like that. Also, from the sales aspect here, sometimes members don't log in, so they don't know if they have a private message here telling them to pay for their purchases. Email is often the only way to wake up those people to take care of their business. Personally, I'd require members to log in whenever they visit the site, but that's not my call.

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Patches
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Liz
30 Nov 2015
03:51:44pm

Auctions
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

The system also needs a member's email address in order to send an invoice if the member were to purchase an item in the auction or from the Approval Books.

I haven't quite figured out how we would send invoices without an email address. Type up a detailed invoice on the Message board? I don't think so.... Sad

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meostamps
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30 Nov 2015
04:12:25pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Kees, go to the member section and click on 'setup Paypal option', (3rd item from bottom on right hand side). This creates an auto link on your invoices for Paypal and you do not have to mention your email addy in the auction description.

Mike in NC / meostamps

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
30 Nov 2015
04:45:47pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I think the issue goes a bit deeper than the emails.

SOR is a CLUB! It means to facilitate the trading of philathelic material among members. Now we are all at different stages of the hobby: Some are primarily downsizing. Some have inherited material they want to dispose of. Some are actively collecting. Some buy and sell equally or inequally and Some could not care one inch about selling!

But let us face it, with problems at BitStart, DelCampe and Ebay, and with the high cost structure of major sellers such as Poppe Stamps for example, many more full time dealers or just occasional sellers may be migrating to SOR to sell.
After all, we have lax policies, a friendly atmosphere, and few rules administered by volunteers with limited teeth to them (the volunteers are getting older..Big Grinlol). And we charge NOTHING to sell here. And have no restrictions on dealers. Let us be frank, sellers bring with them the tools they use on commercial sites to drum up business. Mailings, Sales, Discounts, Newsletters etc...
Some clearly will benefit our membership..especially when they actively participate in ALL our other ressources, but others are just here for self serving commercial purposes (nothing wrong with it..but does it belong?).
Collectors don't mind spending time to organize books and Auction material to meet the needs of their fellow collectors, and don't equate their time to a dollar value. Dealers and sellers do. (I am generalizing..I know)
I can see SOR inheriting more and more dissatified dealers from other sites, if only because the financial burdens these sites have added become more and more ugly and the rules they impose are so onerous. So we MUST anticipate the consequences of this on our Club's orientation.
So I raise these questions for discussion ahead of any grand exodus, and I have no answers to offer, but just thinking:

Should people who only sell here (dealers?) have special rules apply to them.
Should higher standards be implemented on what is sold by dealers, as (I assume) dealers are more motivated by money than by the hobby?
Should SOR block the migration of commercial dealers to the selling platforms of members.
There are many more questions and no discussion so far.
Should SOR monitor more closely the (bad) policies these dealers bring with them, be it out of line shipping charges, circumventing our rules for expediency etc...

I don't mean at all to take aim at the sellers who only sell here..I love you guys/gals...and I am really generalizing... but the reality is that we will see more commercial dealers coming our way and they can be expected to only participate in one aspect of our club..selling their ware.. so let us open up the discussion on what we want as a non-commercial philathelic Club. I am not sure they will even take the time to read our discussion board. And I don't know that any consensus will be achieved.

SOR's Approval Books (which I monitor closely as Moderator) may soon become the only viable platform for dealers to sell their inexpensive stamp holdings efficiently and we don't want to see it overwhelmed and become a dumping ground. The Approval Books have been getting bettter and better with time with our devoted sellers and buyers all collectors as far as I can tell. I don't want it turned into a dumping ground for displaced and dissatisfied sellers of other commercial sites.

So I would like to probe a bit, how YOU ALL feel about what I consider the ineviatble consequences of commercial sites getting too greedy, on the Auctions and Approval Books marketplaces here at SOR.

I post this answer here for continuity..as it relates to mailing lists... but I am going to start a new thread on its own, as it belongs under its own label, so please post your responses there.
rrr...

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cardstamp
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30 Nov 2015
05:55:34pm

Approvals
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

A few people think I am running a business here and that is why I sent out the email. If this was a business - I would be bankrupt by now. I am just trying to liquidate quite a very large collection my father (and to me to some extent) have accumulated. My father whom passed away last year collected for 75+ years and so you can only imagine how much I have (had). I started selling on BIDSTART 6 years ago and I am not in this to make money. I consider it a part of my hobby since I still collect a few countries myself. If I was in this for a business I doubt I be clearing out stamps at 50% off already low prices I have in the approvals. I also would not be offering free shipping offers. I really just want to get rid of boxes and boxes of stamps I have. I actually joined originally because I had been reading the discussions on this board for awhile and when BIDSTART started going south, I thought I try the approvals. It is has become quite time consuming and I am not sure I will keep up the same pace next year. Most of the material in approval books are not a good match to put up in BIDSTART or any other selling site - but it has been a great way to reduce the inventory I have and I know several of the folks who have bought from me over the past year really look forward to every new book I post. I chat with them often. I did error on a few of the emails that I did send - because I was pulling the email ids off a spreadsheet I keep for all sales. I pulled a few incorrectly and actually missed a couple whom should have received it. Bottom line - sorry for the fire storm it has caused - and I will not do it again - I will just message the folks whom buy from me all of the time within the system - which does actually send an email to them anyway with the link. I did not send with an actual distribution list - I did these one by one. Sorry again, Steve

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vjones48
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There is brilliance in simplicity.
30 Nov 2015
06:48:50pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

I received this email and did not object to it at all,as I like the idea of
getting a heads up on approvals/auctions that would interest me.

I sent an email to both Ralph and Steve stating my interest, and stating their
emails about upcoming sales in my area of interest would be appreciated.

Now having said that, maybe it would be a good idea to add options to the
"Willing to Correspond" part of our profiles to let members know what types
of PM we are willing to receive. In my case I took it for granted I would
receive this type of email.

Vernon/vjones48

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keesindy
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30 Nov 2015
09:55:04pm
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

Mike (in NC!), thanks for pointing that out. I hadn't yet found that SoR page, but will now go take a look. I appreciate the help!

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
01 Dec 2015
01:45:53am
re: E-mails advertising Stamporama approvals

If you have favorite sellers, you can subscribe to automatically receive a message when they post a new approval book. To do this, just open any approval book that the seller has. Scroll down the page until you see "New Books Notification Subscription". You will see a button. Click on it to "Subscribe". If you no longer want to receive the posting messages, you can always open a book, scroll down, and click on "Unsubscribe".

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