Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Am I spying on you?

Have you heard of this new GDPR thing coming out of the European Union? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is supposed to give EU people control over their personal data.

Rumours are that it will have a huge impact on newsletters, so some authors are worried. I have to say, I’m not. And not just because I live in Malaysia.

The rules are written in legalese and I find them incomprehensible. However, from the very little I see, I think they are meant to force companies to give people what they sign up for and not muck them about.

What they don’t want:
o       You signing up for a newsletter about soap and being sent stuff about cars and loans.
o       You being faced with pre-ticked boxes that commit you automatically to pesky 'special offers' and other dodgy extras.
o       You signing up and having your data given away or shared with God knows who.

I don’t do that.  

If you're reading this, I have no clue who you are. Blogger does tell me how many people view this post and what country they are from. That's it.

You see that Follow By Email box on the top right? If you pop your email into that, blogger sends you a note every time I write a new post. 

When you do that, most blogs will show your blogger link to the sidebar. People only see your blog or your public profile. Learn how to manage that, here.

I don't show your link in the sidebar, because I think you should be private. I can if I want click through some stuff in the background and then I see your name and your blogger photo - but I don't bother.

If you want to get special offers nobody else gets, you have to sign up for my newsletter. This is what happens:

You Double Opt In To Protect You
When you sign up, you get an automated email asking you to confirm it really was you doing the typing.

Why do I do this? Because there are abusive individuals out there who harass others by signing them up for hundreds or thousands of newsletters. My double confirmation is to prevent some nut from hassling you.

I Don’t Collect Extra Information
When you sign up for my newsletter, you tell me your name and email address.  I don’t know anything else about you. Also, you can choose not to tell me your name, and just give me your email address.

MailChimp tells me if you open my newsletters all the time or just sometimes but I don’t look.

I Don’t Share Your Information - Ever
I write to you once in a blue moon about my books, and that’s basically it. I don’t share your email address with anyone, ever.

Actually, it’s a bit more than that. You see, your name and email are guarded by MailChimp. I can get a list if I want, but actually, I don’t even look.

The only time I know you get my newsletter is when you hit Reply and speak to me privately over email.

Your Privacy Matters
I have this approach because I hate it when companies bugger me about.  Like last month I discovered Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airlines have secretly taken the super personal private data I gave them to book airline tickets, and sold/shared it with their marketing partners.

As a result, I was inundated on my birthday by email and notices. I’m steaming angry about this because keeping my birth date safe is an integral part of preventing ID fraud.

Hopefully they’ll get hit by the GDPR but I doubt it. Big companies never stick to the rules.

Also, I once signed up for an ARC and found the author was signing me up to over 20 of her friends’ newsletters. My email box was jammed for months with email from people I’d never even heard of.  

So I take the approach that if I hate it, you will too.

Unsubscribing Is Easy
If you change your email address, or GASP, get bored with me, each newsletter comes with an unsubscribe button.

If you hit it, I get a notice that says, “X left your mailing list”. This sends me into a tailspin of doubt and despair but it won’t kill me. Probably :-)

I don’t mess about with asking you to change your mind; you want out, that’s your right. 

If you have questions, email me privately by hitting Reply.

Anyway, that’s all from me. I’ll let you know when I have the new book set up. In the meantime, do pop your email into the Follow This Blog box or come and see me on my personal timeline on Facebook.

Also, before I go, I want to say THANK YOU! You’ve all been super amazing with your support and I really appreciate it. Without you, I would not be writing.  

So muahs and see you all in 2 weeks or so.

Ellen aka AJ

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