Some years ago, Seth Godin, one of the best Internet gurus, coined the phrase "permission marketing."
The idea was that the Internet allowed companies to market to the consumer in a different manner.
It allowed consumers to seek out information rather than being bombarded by endless advertisements.
Godin felt that both sides benefited from permission marketing versus the interruption marketing we experience on TV.
Godin's premise was that detailed advertising that pertained to the specific needs and habits of any given consumer could be generated from all of the personal information found on the Internet.
For example, a married, middle-aged man that enjoyed golf would be interested in certain golfing products and would thus receive advertisements that would be of direct interest to him.
He would be receptive to the advertisements, the products and continue to give that company permission to send him ads.
This is in contrast to the middle-aged man sitting in front of his TV being exposed to endless ads for new cars, women's underwear, insurance, hamburgers and prescription medications for ailments he doesn't have.
At some point, the ads reach saturation and the mind turns off all of it, even the scant few that actually might be of interest.
OK, permission marketing is all well and good.
The consumer learns of things they want to know about and the business has to spend money only on ads that have the greatest chance of actually reaching someone that might buy the product.
Now Godin is a brilliant marketing genius. I've heard him in person on several occasions and own all of his books.
Still, something seems to have gone wrong with this permission marketing idea. Take this holiday season, for example.
Buying online has become the norm and it does provide a great deal of gift options and convenience.
However, you have to almost always enter your e-mail address to complete the purchases. Few will go through without that information.
The claim is they need an ID so they can send purchase confirmation and package tracking information.
Fair enough, but the first thing you get is an ad just seconds after the purchase is complete.
That is then followed by daily e-mails on sales and other items available before Christmas.
Sometimes, I get as many as four e-mails a day from the same company.
If a company insists on having my e-mail address, and then turns right around and sends me junk e-mail on items I have no interest in whatsoever, that no longer is permission marketing.
Of course, I can remove my address from the listing and stop the torrents of ads. That means I have to take action to stop it.
I have to rescind my permission when I really didn't want to give it to them in the first place.
An increasing number of these e-mail ads start to show up again even after I remove them.
Apparently, they just cannot come to grips with the fact that I'm really not interested.
This holiday season was the worst yet for this non-permission "permission marketing."
I don't think it's what Godin had in mind. I know it's not what I expect from the Internet.
When Godin's idea surfaced, I thought I would have a close relationship with the companies that really mattered to me.
Instead, the Internet and e-mail has become just another advertising machine on steroids.
Very few companies take the time, manpower and money to learn anything about me. It is cheaper to blast away with the same ads for everyone, just like on TV.
It is no different in the information age than it was before.
With all due respect to one of my heroes, Mr. Godin you need to educate the business side of permission marketing.
As of now, they no longer have my permission.
Charlie Auvermann is a longtime Dawson County resident and former editor of the Dawson Community News. He is also the executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County.