Thursday, September 02, 2004

Firstname "Studboy" Lastname

A while back I made a donation to the Special Olympics just because. I gave them money even though the letter they sent me soliciting donations was addressed to Mr. Kieran Snyder. Anyway, now I'm getting all this mail from other charitable causes -- or rather, I'm not getting the mail, but Mr. Kieran Snyder is getting the mail. It's an interesting experiment in spam-tracking. It's similar to the experiment I did a few years ago, when I sent a friend of mine a subscription to something addressed to Firstname "Studboy" Lastname, and then for the rest of his time at that address he was getting junk mail for Firstname "Studboy" Lastname.

I do understand why charities trade lists of donors -- a lot of them have a very hard time getting enough money for their purposes, and they figure they're upping their chances if they focus on people who are provably a. willing to donate and b. not only willing to donate but willing to donate to similar charities -- but I really wish they didn't. It makes me much less eager to give money if I know that forever into the foreseeable future I'm going to be harrassed by partner organizations. In my case I'm likely to keep giving money to groups I'd like to give money to and throw away the junk mail, but I wonder how many donations charities lose entirely because of these practices.


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