Yes Fandango I Loved Star Trek, but I Hate Your Spam

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 11, 2009 in Star Trek, Tech |

Fandango Spam: Now in Passive Aggressive Flavor!

There was only one way to buy a Star Trek ticket (aside from getting on a physical line at a movie theater) and that’s to purchase it through Fandango. But having a relationship with Fandango isn’t my idea of “fun” — my goals when using this type of site is to get in and to get out, it’s a utility and anything that gets in my way is just a hassle. However some marketing dudes at Fandango somehow think that they’re Yelp! and want to push their lame attempt at a “community” by including reviews of films. Now I don’t mind that, but what I do mind is that their way of building a “community” is to spam those who purchased a ticket but never asked for any marketing emails to come their way:

First off the notion of Fandango having a review based community is dumb idea to begin with because people who want to be first in line to see a film don’t give a crap about a Fandango review, they’re first on line because they already read about the film from a trusted source like a blog, in a magazine, by word-of-mouth or may even have illegally downloaded it but still want to see it on the big screen.

In fact I’ve rarely ever met anybody who didn’t know what film they’d want to see who would then think to buy a ticket in advance — those sorts of people (example: two people on a date) will see what’s playing at the theater and buy their ticket on the spot. And frankly if you’re on a date the choice of a film may not even be the point.

But speaking of relationships back to my point: Fandango is a utility and my goal with this type of site is to spend as little time with it. So when I purchased my tickets for Star Trek I made it a point not to become “a customer” but to use their express lane online and just purchase the damn tickets. Not only that but I made it a point to take my time and to read all of the fine print so they so they wouldn’t send me any spam.

But the passive-aggressive folks at Fandango don’t care about that — so they sent me spam asking me to rate and review Star Trek which I never asked to be sent. This pissed me off for a number of reasons:

• When I signed up I never opted-in to get spam.

• Fandango knows this because no where on their spam do they give you an opportunity to opt-out.

• You can tell they know it’s spam too because at the top of the email they even ask you to add their email address on their white list.

• The email claims to be a “thank you” note for your purchase, but it was sent well after I watched the film. To me as a consumer there’s no point to that…

• Your reward for a review? Some lame thank you reward that’s never described (maybe it’s more spam?)

• And then to punish you further they even suggest that you sign up for more spam.

• Of course if you reply to the email they won’t be able to respond — how convenient!

• They list their website, but that’s useless because there’s no easy to find place on that site to complain to them. In fact their site is so filled with crap and clutter it reminds you why you didn’t want to sign up with them in the first place.

• They list their physical address, but not their phone number because they know most people won’t stop to have a chat with their Chief Marketing Officer Ted Hong, Chief Technology Officer Shane O’Neill or CEO Chuck Davis.

So sadly while Fandango wants my Star Trek review I’m left with the feeling that they don’t give a crap about me as a customer on any level. Yes they’d love to know what I think of the film, but they don’t care what I think about them so they can improve their service. Of course if they cared my guess is that they wouldn’t have sent the spam in the first place. It’s an example of a company that reads all of those articles about social networking, but doesn’t get it — and worst of maybe doesn’t want to get it. And they knew what they were doing as wrong because the email is designed with that in mind.

Chuck Davis if you’re reading this and you’ve decided to chance this policy of passive-aggressive “community building” please let me know and I’ll gladly write up a love note that you’ve listened to a lowly fanboy. But until then I’ll have to view your service as a necessary evil for my film going habits…

Update on Monday Afternoon: Well Fandango doesn’t give a damn as they just sent me a second spam with no clear opt-out just to drive their point home:

Fandango: We want your Star Trek review or we'll just keep spamming you some more!

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