Miller Hunts Down Those Who Use 'Fake' Email Addresses


Boing Boing points to an act of lunacy on the part of Miller Brewing which hunted down a person who used a throwaway email address to enter a contest the brewer was hosting so she could avoid future marketing messages from Miller. Apparently, Miller didn't like being tricked, found the user presumably through some sort of IP tracking and sent her this email which read, in part, "We have performed an electronic change of address to update our records so that we can continue to send you special offers, promotions and announcements via email." We'd like to speak with the person at Miller who actually wrote and/or approved this to se just what it's like to be so disrespectful to one's customer.

UPDATE: Ad-Verse takes a detailed look at this, offers more details on how Miller supposedly does this, why they do it and why he calls this crap sociopathic marketing.

by Steve Hall    Feb-20-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Brands, Online   

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The customer probably changed email addresses and their old email addy was bouncing.

There are companies like "ReturnPath" that will update expired email addresses that bounce with the new/current email address of a customer, for a fee.

This is a well-known email marketing practice.

Read up: .

Posted by: Matt on February 20, 2006 2:40 PM

Why does this sound much more like a phishing scam, like the ones that need you to link to ebay or paypal to confirm your account?

I would hazard that it may not be from Miller at all.

Posted by: JODSTEr on February 20, 2006 2:51 PM

Whether it's well known or not, is it abusive? Sociopathic? Disrespectful?

The short answer is all of the above. Someone should be smacked.

Posted by: Weave on February 20, 2006 3:14 PM


I was already to give Matt some smack talk like that but you beat me to it! :-)

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 20, 2006 3:48 PM

What Matt fails to realize is that there are essentially no good e-mail marketing practices. ReturnPath doesn't seem like something to hold up as an example of good ones. The first red flag is that it is Have you come across a reputable business in the .biz TLD yet? I haven't.

So, I go take a quick check on Inflow (ReturnPath's host), and what do I find? It's a tiny, tiny little ISP that nonetheless has five separate listings on Spamhaus, one of them a ROKSO spammer (see

Being in that neighborhood alone is reason to shun their services.

Looking at ReturnPath itself, the first service they offer is analyzing your message for filtering problems, and offering solutions. I have never contracted with them, but this usually implies such wonders as selling V1AGRA and C!alis, or sprinkling comments inside of HTML to break up common filtering words like "free", "work at home", or "Nigeria".

Once they have gotten past that stage, they then implant little spy-bugs in e-mails to try and track innocents that haven't been taught how to disable remote image loading and script execution in their e-mail. Such people's admins don't deserve employment, but they do exist.

All told, if you e-mail that way, you deserve bankruptcy and jail time. If Miller is contracting with them, it is a very poor reflection on them.

Posted by: KW Williams on February 20, 2006 4:30 PM

What I find insane is the caliber of companies that employ the spammers (or "Electronic Direct Marketers"). Not morally, necessarily, but they are huge brands (Miller, CitiFinancial, GM, Sprint). Does it really serve them in the long run to be this abusive towards their customers, individually and in the aggregate?

I know when I was doing EDMs for a major software company, there were pretty strict rules about how often we could email our customers with pitches, and as far as I know didn't do image callback tracking on individuals.

Posted by: Jackson West on February 21, 2006 3:34 AM

Reading all the posts made me wonder if something else was at play. I did some investigating, and I think the original poster was misguided and Adrants missed the boat.

I don't know if Miller uses, but since another poster mentioned them I checked out their site. This company updates databases of e-mail addresses based on *consumer-initiated* E-mail Change of Address requests. We all update our records when a consumer-initiated postal Change of Address is received, don't we? Same thing.

The original poster might've requested her e-mail be updated through some service and Miller is responding (as they should, don't you think?)

I don't work for ReturnPath either, but here is a link to a page describing their service:

Posted by: Not Frederick Miller on February 21, 2006 9:44 AM

"Not Frederick Miller" needs to look more closely. The "Personal Solutions" side (a.k.a. "please spam me whole lots and lots") allows gullible people to submit their e-mail address. The "business solutions" side functions as I described.

Posted by: KW Williams on February 21, 2006 12:26 PM

Crap. Crispin Porter Bogusky took no time to do Miller Lite stuff.

Posted by: anonymous on February 22, 2006 10:51 AM


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Posted by: mr. dq on October 6, 2008 9:51 PM