Set the bar high, despite the medium

Today I received some announcement spam from Work.com, a new portal for businesses. Unfortunately, Work.com’s PR department didn’t exactly utilize the utmost care when sending out the announcement. Here’s the opening of the email they sent me:

Hi Jason Clarke’s,

As a website of valuable information for business, we wanted to tell you about our recently launched site designed to help business owners and entrepreneurs quickly find solutions to key business challenges like marketing your business and finding a payroll processing service.

Besides the fact that their automated email bot couldn’t distinguish between a person’s name and company name, check out that first sentence and bask in its grammatical insanity:

As a website of valuable information for business, we wanted to tell you about our recently launched site

Email can be hard to get right, and tempting to use on too large a scale, but despite those factors, companies who care still set the bar high for themselves.

Related items note: Previously, I’ve written about corporate email and mail foibles from the terribly awful Adholes and the only moderately annoying Audible.

Yahoo! Mail’s CAPTCHA: Helpful or annoying?

I recently switched over to Yahoo! Mail. I’m enjoying the service, but since Sunday, I’ve noticed they’ve implemented an occasional feature I’m not too happy about so far.

About half the time, after I’ve clicked the Send button on an email message, I’m taken to a CAPTCHA page that I have to pass before Yahoo! will send my email out.

Here’s a screenshot of the Yahoo! Mail CAPTCHA screen taken from earlier today:

Yahoo! Mail CAPTCHA screenshot

Their explanation is as follows:

This step helps prevent spammers from using Yahoo! Mail, and helps to ensure that your email will be delivered.

As they’re a large service- basically a public utility- I understand and appreciate Yahoo!’s desire to cut down on spam, both for itself and for its users. But I wish there were a less invasive way to acomplish such a worthy goal.

Furthermore, there’s one part of their explanation I don’t understand. The preventing spam part- I get that. But what do they mean when they claim that:

This step…helps to ensure that your email will be delivered.

Huh?! Are they saying that, for some unknown and unexplained reason, my mail might not be delivered unless I complete the CAPTCHA step? If this is marketing’s idea of adding a second justification for the CAPTCHA, it’s certainly not a good one- they’re essentially suggesting that their service couldn’t ensure your mail would be delivered before they implemented this step.

Overall, I’m happy to see a large email provider addressing outgoing spam in an apparently meaningful way. But I also hope that Yahoo! plans to evolve this service, either by tuning it to appear less for honest customers, or by making it invisible alltogether. Particularly for those customers paying $20 for the privledge of using Yahoo!