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Monday 21 May 2012

Synovate / Avios "Share your opinion and win an iPad!" spam

Here's an annoying piece of spam:
From:     Loyalty Research loyaltyresearch@synovate.net
Reply-To:     loyaltyresearch@synovate.net
Date:     21 May 2012 08:41
Subject:     Share your opinion and win an iPad!

Dear Mr Xxxxx,

We are contacting you from Synovate, an independent market research agency and would like to invite you to take part in a survey on behalf of a leading loyalty rewards programme, that you are a member of.

Your name has been given to us in good faith by this company and their loyalty programme name will be revealed to you at the end of the survey.

As a thank you for your participation we will enter you into a prize draw to win a fantastic iPad. Your opinions will be used to improve products and services.

This survey should take less than 20 minutes to complete, and will close on the 30th May 2012

Please click on the link below to begin the survey (CLICK ONCE ONLY):

Your identity will not be revealed to any third party

All information that we collect is strictly confidential and participation will not lead to any unsolicited mail, phone calls, or e-mails.

Your name will never be associated with your specific responses as they will be combined with those of other respondents. You can view our privacy policy at: http://www.synovate.com/legal/

If the survey link does not open, close the browser window then copy and paste the link into the address line of a new browser window and press enter.

If you exit the survey unexpectedly or accidentally close your Internet browser, clicking on the link above will allow you to re-enter the survey and continue where you left off.

If you have any comments or questions about this survey, please e-mail loyaltyresearch@synovate.net and include this survey ID number XXXXX along with any correspondence.

Kind regards,

The Synovate Team

This e-mail is being sent to you by Synovate on behalf of a leading customer loyalty company. Synovate and this company attempt to comply with all governmental laws for commercial e-mail. We have contacted you specifically either because you agreed to be on their mailing list to receive correspondence such as this, or you have previously participated in a survey on behalf of this company. Who this company is will be revealed at the end of the interview. If you do not wish to receive further communication from us, please reply to this email and let us know.

Terms & Conditions

1.    The prize is a 16gb iPad with wi-fi
2.    The prize draw is open to participants of this survey aged 18 or over resident in the UK, excluding employees and past employees of Synovate or anyone materially connected to the administration of the prize draw.
3.    Entry to the draw is by completion and submission of the survey. No purchase is required.
4.    Closing date for all entries into the prize draw is 30th May 2012 at 12pm. No responsibility will be taken for entries lost, damaged, incomplete or illegible. Proof of submitting will not be accepted as proof of delivery. Entries may be disqualified if incomplete or illegible.
5.    Only one entry per person may be submitted.
6.    The draw will take place by 30.06.12.
7.    The prize will be awarded to the first eligible entry drawn.
8.    The winner will be notified in writing by 06.07.12.
9.    The winner will receive their prize by post no later than 20.07.12.
10.    If a winner cannot be contacted within 14 days from the draw date, an alternative winner will be drawn.
11.    The name and county of the winner will be available to anyone sending a stamped addressed envelope to Ipsos, Prize Draw Winner, c/o Toby Rogers, Minerva House, 5 Montague Close, London, SE1 9AY within 28 days of the published closing date.
12.    All entrants to the prize draw will be deemed to have accepted the rules.
13.    No alternatives to the prize offered will be given

The bit that says "Who this company is will be revealed at the end of the interview" is particular appalling as the only way to find out who sold your contact details is to do the suvey! Well, not quite.. because the email address Synovate sent to is only used for registration at Avios (formerly Airmiles). So Avios sold on my contact details for the survey.

Oh well, easily fixed. We just need to change the privacy settings in Avios to stop this happening.. oh wait, third party emails don't appear in the "contact preferences" section of their site at all:

So what does their privacy policy say? Well:

Direct Marketing and who your data may be passed to

Your data may be passed to carefully selected companies that distribute Avios or companies that we think may be of interest to you. We may also pass your details to suppliers that process data on our behalf. On occasion we may use and disclose data on a collective basis for marketing and research cases but will not in such cases provide individual customer data.
So, you passed my contact details to Synovate for market research purposes, and there's no apparent opt out. Unless perhaps I do it in writing as you can't opt out on the web site..

How to remove yourself from our communication listings

If you do not wish to receive promotional mailings, simply inform us by writing to the address below. Please note that you may still receive an Avios statement as part of your membership.

Customer Account Management
PO Box 90,
WA3 7XA.
This is really shabby marketing. Avios haven't breached their own privacy policy as it allows them to sell your contact details on in this way, but most consumers won't be expecting it. You should never, ever click on an unsolicited link like this (because it could lead to malware) and Avios and Synovate should at least make their relationship clear in the email rather than keeping it as a secret until you do the survey.

And why is this spam? Well, in my opinion the email is unsolicited, Avios members cannot apparently opt-out or control these, and the relationship of the recipient to the sender is unclear. Avios and Synovate serious need to clean up their act IMO.

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