Author Topic: MailChimp breaking GDPR?  (Read 425 times)

LilyBLily

MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« on: May 15, 2019, 04:48:03 AM »
MailChimp just emailed and said it has a new marketing program and my unsubscribes are now part of my mailing list audience again and can be marketed to. On the face of it, this breaks GDPR. Also, common courtesy.

I assume it's a roundabout way of pushing my list total over 2,000, thus pushing my account into paying territory from free. But since when does MailChimp have the right to essentially reinstate people who have unsubscribed?

Am I reading the email wrong? 
 

Rickie Blair

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019, 05:31:26 AM »
I have the same question. I was surprised, to say the least.
 

DmGuay

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 08:26:08 AM »
I noticed this month that Mailchimp was keeping unsubscribes and bounced email addresses on my lists. I agree it might violate all kinds of ethics to keep emailing these people.

You now have to manually go in, create a segment of unsubbed and bounced contacts on each list, and delete them to remove them from your list. I'm not sure if this is something that mailchimp used to do automatically? But it can be done manually.

Seems like a way to get you over the hump for the next pay level, but in a not useful to customers way. (I don't archive, I DELETE.)

So yes, they're admitting to keeping them around instead of auto scrubbing them. But, you can scrub them out yourself to keep your numbers more accurate.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 08:28:33 AM by DmGuay »

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Bill Hiatt

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Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 11:30:59 AM »
I can't find the email, but that wasn't how I was interpreting it. I didn't think MC was encouraging us to email market to people who'd unsubscribed from email, but to market to them in other ways.

Haven't you noticed the growing array of things like post cards that you can send out for $0.70 each--gasp!--and things like that. And coming soon, a new price structure for plans that truly take advantage of that larger audience we supposedly have.

I'm not saying the idea isn't stupid. I grumble about it every time I see the use of the word "audience" where audience includes a whole bunch of unsubscribes. I'm sure they're all just dying to hear from me by postal mail. Yeah, right!

But there's a difference between stupid and illegal. It's hard to believe that a company like Mailchimp, which did understand GDPR, all of a sudden now doesn't understand it. Even Amazon isn't that out of touch with reality.

I'll look around for the email when I get a chance just to make sure.


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KFaitour

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 01:09:28 PM »
When I checked my account in MailChimp, the next pricing level was still based on my number of subscribers rather than the number of contacts (which includes all the unsubs and bounces).

So while I'm flabbergasted about the change and would never continue emailing unsubscribed readers, at least my pricing structure is still based on the number of actual subscribers.

Geez.  :catrun

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Lysmata Debelius

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 01:52:07 PM »
Here's the relevant text from the email :

What's new in the free plan?

With so many new channels to put to work for your business, our definition of “audience” is changing to include all of the contacts you can market to regardless of their email opt-in/subscriber status. So that happy customer that’s been on your subscriber list for 2 years? They’ll still be a part of your audience. But those customers that unsubscribed and that customer that attended your event but never opted in to your newsletter? They’ll be in your audience now too.

These new channels allow you to leverage your entire audience, so you can encourage new engagement with your brand. It’s much more expensive to find new customers than to keep existing ones, so be sure to market to the audience you’ve worked so hard to build.
 
What does this mean for you?

As we've grown beyond email to be an all-in-one Marketing Platform, we've created new plans to include all of our new features and capabilities. As a current user of our Forever Free plan, you'll now be in the new Free plan as long as your audience size is 2,000 contacts or less. The new pricing structure is based upon the total number of contacts you can market to, which now includes unsubscribes and customers who have simply not opted-in yet. You can check your Mailchimp account to see how many contacts are in your total audience. And keep in mind, you can always archive contacts you aren't using. On June 15, 2019, the pricing change will go into effect if you have more than 2,000 contacts.

Plus, if you’d like to upgrade to a paid plan and get access to all of the features in our new plans like removing Mailchimp branding, using retargeting ads, or getting access to 24x7 support, check out mailchimp.com tomorrow for all the new plans to see what best fits your needs.
 
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Jeff Tanyard

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 02:30:04 PM »
Is this Mailchimp's "New Coke" moment?  Because that's what it looks like.  Holy catfish.   :eek:

MailerLite must be cackling with delight right about now.


When I checked my account in MailChimp, the next pricing level was still based on my number of subscribers rather than the number of contacts (which includes all the unsubs and bounces).

So while I'm flabbergasted about the change and would never continue emailing unsubscribed readers, at least my pricing structure is still based on the number of actual subscribers.

Geez.  :catrun


According to the email Lysmata posted, that will change on June 15.  Then you'll be paying for those unsubscribed folks, too.    :n2Str17:
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LilyBLily

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2019, 08:24:13 PM »
I've gone ahead and followed DmGuay's instructions and deleted the unsubscribed names.

MailChimp is not my main mailing list company--which is why I have only a small free account--and this action on its part is inclining me even less to want to be a paying customer.
 

DmGuay

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2019, 12:24:27 AM »
Patty J had some food for thought over on the other board about this. Basically, if you delete them like I do, a contact will be able to resubscribe to your list via bookfunnel/story origin, etc and will start getting your emails again. If you archive them, MailChimp won't add them back onto your list if they seek another freebie since they've already unsubbed once.

Food for thought.

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Denise

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2019, 01:39:27 AM »
I'm assuming they'll sell Facebook ads or stuff like that targeting your unsubscribes.

I think it's tricky with GDPR because you'll be using their data for things they hadn't authorized you to do. I think it's also a bit obnoxious, frankly, but that's what it sounds like with their email.
 

LilyBLily

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2019, 03:19:52 AM »
I'm sure my unsubscribes happened because I did NOT give them a freebie, so I'm not worried about missing out on a way to keep them from asking for another one.

The bottom line for me is that I don't want MailChimp to be all things to me, nor do I want MailerLite nor BookFunnel nor any of the others to be, either. And I certainly do not want them to be in control of my lists and doing things with those names without my permission. 

Part of GDPR is my promise not to use people's information in ways to which they did not agree. I think this move by MailChimp reeks of crossing the line with GDPR and I want no part of it.
 
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Denise

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2019, 03:36:31 AM »
And I certainly do not want them to be in control of my lists and doing things with those names without my permission. 

Part of GDPR is my promise not to use people's information in ways to which they did not agree. I think this move by MailChimp reeks of crossing the line with GDPR and I want no part of it.

I don't think they'd do things with those names without your permission, but I assume you could build Facebook campaigns retargeting your unsubscribes, for example.

Like you, I think it crosses the line with GDPR because these people authorized you to send them emails and nothing else unless you stated so.
 

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Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2019, 04:19:07 AM »
I just sent this to Mailchimp:

I'm concerned about the recent redefinition of audience and particularly this line in a recent email: "The new pricing structure is based upon the total number of contacts you can market to, which now includes unsubscribes and customers who have simply not opted-in yet." I'm using Mailchimp as an email marketing platform--period. I have no intention of ever using it for anything else--no postcards, no FB ads, nothing. (Even if I did, why would I expect that people who don't want to receive email from me are receptive to my advertising in some other form?) Why should I be charged for "audience" members that are of no practical use to me? Ideally, Mailchimp should either allow customers to opt out of this new definition of audience or provide a fast and easy way to delete all the unsubscribed or nonsubscribed contacts automatically. I notice contacts can't be archived unless they've been inactive for a year.

I'd recommend that anyone who uses Mailchimp also express their displeasure.

I'd just pack up right now, but if I recall correctly, trying to import contacts through another service can sometimes result in GDPR consent information being lost. Having already nuked my mailing list once, I'm not eager to do it again.


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Tom Wood

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Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2019, 04:29:15 AM »
I suspect MailChimp (MC) is sophisticated enough to stay within the GDPR lines. Those lines don't apply to the data/emails of US residents anyway. If MC has a way of excluding EU emails, then they can do what they want.

When someone joins your MC email list, do they agree to a TOS agreement that they probably never read? One that probably granted MC the rights to do what they are now doing?
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2019, 04:49:00 AM »
I suspect MailChimp (MC) is sophisticated enough to stay within the GDPR lines. Those lines don't apply to the data/emails of US residents anyway. If MC has a way of excluding EU emails, then they can do what they want.

When someone joins your MC email list, do they agree to a TOS agreement that they probably never read? One that probably granted MC the rights to do what they are now doing?
When someone subscribes to an MC mailing list, they do not agree to an MC terms of service. They only agree to whatever the mailing list owner puts in the subscription form. That can now include a GDPR checkbox for explicit consent to email marketing. A list owner can include things such as other marketing channels, but I didn't, and my guess is neither did a lot of people.

It would be easy to stay compliant with GDPR simply by not interacting with unsubscribed or nonsubscribed contacts. I'm sure Mailchimp isn't going to force anyone to do that. And you're right, Tom. I doubt Mailchimp itself will do anything that violates GDPR. My only concern is with a fee structure that counts unsubscribers in the total number.

I'm going to have to try manual deletion. The last time I tried that, the contacts didn't actually delete. (I can see MC keeping them for record-keeing purposes, but these circumstances are different.)

As I said, I'd just move, but Mailchimp keeps a lot of data proving GDPR consent that I don't think gets imported by most email providers. I can keep the spreadsheet with the raw data, but that's obviously less convenient.


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Shoe

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2019, 04:50:03 AM »
GDRP is what took away our mandatory opt-ins (for the most part), isn't it? It sort of ruined Prolific Works. I hope they revise their GDRP whatever to allow us to exclude EU from our mailings and revert to mandatory opt-ins on all giveaways.

Or am I missing something?
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Denise

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2019, 05:37:00 AM »
GDRP is what took away our mandatory opt-ins (for the most part), isn't it? It sort of ruined Prolific Works. I hope they revise their GDRP whatever to allow us to exclude EU from our mailings and revert to mandatory opt-ins on all giveaways.

Or am I missing something?

GDPR didn't take away mandatory opt-ins. It only forbids using information without authorization. Some people interpret that GDPR forbids mandatory opt-in, but if it were true, Prolific Works wouldn't support it. They still have it; they just don't promote it.

Prolific Works changed because they wanted to change. It was a stupid business decision, but oh, wel.

Other sites like BookFunnel, Story Origin, and Book Cave Direct kept their mandatory opt-ins and nobody has ever had any issues.
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2019, 06:40:15 AM »
A lot of what we heard about GDPR has not come to pass--yet. I'm inclined to err on the side of caution when possible. I find I get plenty of signups, even when they're optional, and a lot fewer unsubscribes.

That said, I discovered my Wordpress GDPR plugin that said it was blocking all non-essential cookies prior to consent actually wasn't. I spent several days looking for a plugin that actually did the job properly and now have one that works, at least for what I'm doing. But the experience reminded me of how many different interpretations of GDPR there are. Some of them may have impure motivations. I notice that each plugin maker seems to interpret GDPR as requiring exactly what their plugin does. The less powerful plugins make the requirements sound much simpler. The more powerful ones make it sound as if anything less than their level is unacceptable.

Regardless of what GDPR requires, what Mailchimp is doing with its audience definition seems ridiculous. Would you want to receive a postcard when someone you didn't want to receive email from?


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Bill Hiatt

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Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2019, 08:09:09 AM »
I feel better now that I've tried DmGuay's method, and it worked. As I mentioned, before there was no archiving, and deleted unsubscribers weren't actually deleted. Now, it's a comparatively easy process and a good way to make sure I'm not billed for people I shouldn't be.

Of course, Mailchimp should ideally have provided a way for people to process archiving or deleting that part of the "audience" more easily, but I notice MC has lifted the one-year restriction. When archiving was first rolled out, it only seemed to work on people who hadn't been active for at least a year. Now it works even for people who just opted out.


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Captain Cranky

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2019, 10:14:38 AM »
Somebody made a statement on the mailchimp facebook page that by deleting the unsubscribes etc and permanently removing their information, you might actually then become non-compliant with GDPR if an individual asks you how you were using their information and you are no longer able to provide it. Obviously the liklihood that someone will do this is slim to none, but it made me curious anyway whether there might be truth to that? Can that info be archived in some way so you're not paying for them, but it's still there just in case?
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Denise

Re: MailChimp breaking GDPR?
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2019, 10:54:42 AM »
Can that info be archived in some way so you're not paying for them, but it's still there just in case?

I guess you could import them to a spreadsheet, but I wonder if it keeps information such as login date, etc.

That said, I read a lot about GDPR and people can ask you to remove them completely and forget them. I don't know if you're supposed to do the opposite. If someone asks, you can say you deleted them.