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As I get older I have noticed that I’ve become less trusting and more suspicious of strangers, their motives and their communication. I will readily challenge unsolicited emails I receive, ask deep and probing questions on how they found my email address and why they are sending me marketing emails that I had not asked for.

Here’s an example. Note that this was the 2nd email I received. I had junked the previous one, hoping he wouldn’t follow-up, but follow-up he did.

Hello Michael,

I hope you are doing well.

Did you have the chance to take a look at my previous email?

Would you be interested in an opportunity to accelerate and automate Staying Alive (UK) Ltd’s Influencer Marketing processes?

I would love to learn a bit more about your day to day process finding and managing influencers and see how (company name) can help you save time and energy.

When can we plan a call to address these matters?
Or, if you are not in charge of this topic, could you please forward my email?

Have a great day,


I decided to dig deeper after receiving this 2nd email;

Thomas thanks for your emails. I regret to say that I’m not keen in influencer marketing processes, it’s just another way to sell stuff to consumers that they do not need. But thank you for thinking of me and please remove me from your future correspondence. One heads-up for you, it actually is illegal in Europe not to have an unsubscribe button on your emails, I have no idea what system you are using, but please be aware when you are emailing your prospects in Europe, it could cause you some issues and potential financial fines if reported. Success with your campaign and please remember to remove me from your list. I appreciate it.

ps. How did you manage to locate my email address by the way? It would help me to understand this. Thanks!

His response;

Hello Michael,

Thank you for your reply.
I obtained your email through LinkedIn. The reason we do not include an unsubscribe button in our emails are because they are not marketing emails, i.e. newsletters, but rather proactive solicitations to initiate a discussion about a delimited topic.

Either way, you will not receive any more emails from us, given that replying positively or negatively accounts for an unsub request.

Wishing you a great day,


I could have left it at that but I didn’t, I started further probing, challenging and maybe even being passive aggressive in my stance with him, see below;

Thanks Thomas I appreciate your response. So I’m curious because we’re not connected and therefore how did you see my email address on LinkedIn?

Thanks for helping me uncover a glitch in the system?

I’m sorry to disagree with you, your emails most certainly come across as sales/marketing your services, it is actually quite obvious. In your email you are asking me “how [company name] can help you save time and energy.” That for me is a sales proposition Thomas.

Now if you had connected to me on LinkedIn and started a low level conversation by sharing some content, I might have reacted differently.

Get an unsolicited email from someone you don’t know and there is a repeat email that chases a response for me is most definitely marketing, sorry.


Needless to say, I have not yet had a response to that last email and I suspect I probably will not. I do understand why he’s trying to say it’s not marketing, because he’s been taught that newsletters are marketing and a sales email is not marketing, well, I most definitely disagree. Sales, marketing it’s all the same these days.

And then the feeling came up in me that I want to report this guy to LinkedIn. How is he scraping emails from LinkedIn when we’re not even connected, maybe I am connected to another employee or hacker somewhere. So from this point onwards I feel I should be less trusting of people inviting me to connect on LinkedIn, they never personalise their invites, so I could be accepting the next email list builder by accident.

Am I the only one feeling this way? With the Facebook scandal continuing to brew, maybe I’ve become more paranoid. Then today I also heard about a data breach on an exercise app and people’s details being stolen.

This internet is not working out as well as we thought is it?

Happy emailing!

Michael de Groot



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Michael de Groot

Michael de Groot

What could happen if you were able to share a better story? | www.stayingaliveuk.com