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Dance, puny customer, dance!

The subject line of a message from Infoworld interested me: “Social Networking: A Challenge for the Business World.” The message turned out to be spam from an advertiser to whom InfoWorld had given my email address. (I must have neglected to uncheck and opt-out box somewhere. Foolish me.) Inside was an offer:

While social networking sites create new opportunities for users to communicate in real time, this technology can lead to negative consequences. MessageLabs can help your business take advantage of the benefits and protect itself against the risks.

I bit. I clicked on the link, thinking it would be interesting to see which fears the Vendors With Solutions are stirring up.

But, the link leads to a registration form with 14 required fields to fill.

Message received, MessageLabs! Sayonara!

(BTW, if you’re from MessageLabs and want to comment on this post, you must first click on this link. Thanks.

Ok, but seriously, these registration forms are usually a bad idea. 1. Most of the leads you gather will be useless, and useless leads cost money to cull and chase down. 2. The information you’re offering is probably available elsewhere more easily (the hard lesson of abundance), so even low hurdles are too high. 3. Gathering info from your users is not a neutral act; it positions you as stingy with information, lacking confidence, and ready to exploit your customers.

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