Don’t destroy trust by selling my details

If you want me to trust you – DO NOT SELL MY DETAILS.


Simple you would think!

Apparently not. Companies who should know better continue to do this.

An email appears in my inbox today advertising ‘Hillary’s Blinds’. Interesting I think, as I have no interest in blinds, have never knowingly subscribed to emails or newsletters from them, and all my windows have blinds or curtains that I am perfectly happy with.

At the end of the email is the usual legal disclaimers and the following …

To unsubscribe from future partner offers brought to you by the Association of Train Operating Companies simply click the link <<link removed>> Company reg address; 3rd Floor, 40 Bernard Street, London, WC1N 1BY. Company reg no 3069033


A train company has sold my details to … a partner company?

A window blind company.

How are window blinds connected to travel?

Fact: They are not.

The train company has sold my details for cash. Simple as that.


My first action is to unsubscribe. Not buy blinds, but to block contact from you.

As issues of corporate trust fill the news broadcasts, ATOC has shown that it deserves ZERO trust because it will sell my details for a few pennies.

A brand means nothing without trust. And your behaviour has ruined that trust, therefore damaged your brand.

An accountant may point to the amount generated by selling the email details. As a marketer I’ll point to the cost needed to reestablish your brand and gain back customers trust. Believe me, my amount is much, much bigger.



3 thoughts on “Don’t destroy trust by selling my details

  1. Stuart Aston

    a question that people should ask, is this; if the “product” is free, what does the company get out of it… but a colleague of mine summed it up this way… “If you don’t pay for the product you are the product”…

    Of course in many examples, some companies make incremental revenue from selling lists of their “subscribers” to others, another friend of mine tracks this by changing his “name” to be the company he subscribes to, so he can always tell “where his data originates from”… not possible in all cases of course…

    1. Gary Burt Post author

      In the case above – I had paid many times for train tickets. The ‘permission’ that I gave to the train company was to inform me about relevant offers. I can accept partner companies defined as perhaps hotels, food companies or events, but ‘window blinds’ – absolutely not.

      This was pure cash from selling an email list. Amazing how many marketing execs can still get paid for such tricks 6 years after the release of ‘Permission Marketing’.

      I like the idea of changing my name … in this case I could use … Mr Gary tracking-ATOC-bastards-who-sell-my-name Burt

      The other point was that who needs data breaches when companies like this sell your data!


  2. Stuart Aston

    Indeed, the devil is in the detail when I used to work for a “popular high street” financial institution, there were very strict rules on how the data could be used, and, whilst the rules were strictly enforced, that data could be gathered only for the specific intended purpose. Many companies included “marketing” or similar as part of their terms and conditions for using the service… which leaves the poor user with a quandary of working out for each company what its privacy policy is and how their data will be used… in many cases this is less than clear unless you are familiar with the particular legal jujitsu in use…

    I personally wish people had that much free time in their lives to check… I know I don’t… so I tend to limit my services to those orgs that I “trust”… and use technology where possible to make the use of my personal information more difficult. It’s not perfect or even good…


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