MBF Newsletter Mail Merge Mistake

Either someone is doing an excellent job phishing for MBF member details, or they screwed up sending out their most recent email newsletter.

The newsletter’s subject is “Your chance to win 10K worth of prizes” and it contains the following text:

Hi William,

At MBF we want to help you get the most from your health insurance.

Register to receive our updates via email today and we can help to keep you healthy and happy.

To register click here, login to myMBF and make sure you complete your contact details and update your communications preferences to email. If you’re already registered, make sure you check your details in case anything has changed since you last visited.

Two things immediately jump out at me here:

  1. My name isn’t William. Something has gone wrong with their mail merge and it’s put someone else’s name on my email. Embarrassing, but not fatal.
  2. I have all my MBF communications set to ‘post’ – all email options (that I can find) are switched off.

To complicate things further, the links are all of the form: http://p1.eservicesesp.com/cts/click?q=randomcharactershere – no doubt this is a mailing service that they’re using to track newsletter click throughs, but to a casual observer, it looks like it might be a phishing attempt.

The net result of this email is that it looks like a phishing attempt. But it’s almost certainly just a screw-up on behalf of MBF and/or the marketing agency they’ve employed to handle their bulk emails.

To make things even more painful, there’s no easy way to report the problem to MBF listed in the email (a simple “if you believe you have received this message in error, click here” link would have done the trick, or on their website. Even logged in, you don’t get an option to provide feedback over the web or via email – you have to use the phone or write them something called “a letter”.

Sending newsletters to lots of people is hard. But it’s not that hard. We’ve done it at Mammoth every week for almost eight years, sending millions of emails to hundreds of thousands of subscribers, so if you need some advice on how to do it right, maybe you should ask us :)

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