MLB.com emails look like scams

Dear MLB,

I have been a subscriber to your MLB.tv service for a couple of years, and yesterday I received an email to tell me that charging my credit card for the new season had failed. I’m not complaining about the credit card charging: it’s the email which is a problem.

As I hope you are aware, there is a growing problem with ‘scam’ and ‘phishing’ emails these days. Unfortunately the email your business has sent me looks enough like a scam for me to be very dubious about it. I only decided it was real because I am a subscriber and I was expecting my card to be charged around now.

I have three suggestions for how you can make your emails look less like scams and avoid worrying your customers.

1. Address the email to me personally.
You have my details because I’m a registered user on your site, so you could address your email “Dear Edward Harman”, instead of the general “Dear MLB.TV Yearly Subscriber”. This would reassure me that you are someone that has had previous dealings with me, rather than someone ‘phishing’ for details.

2. Make ‘links’ point to your own site.
Your email has a number of links to web pages in it, but when I hover my mouse over them and look at the URL they link to, it goes to something like

“http://clicks.on32.com/cts/click?q=2;8503;Jf1Sr7G6m9hgQyWAVxiB0aUNX%2BLtM4HL”

There is no way a sensible web user like myself is going to click on a link like that – I have no idea what ‘on32.com’ is or what relationship they have with MLB (if any), and the random string of characters at the end looks quite suspicious.

You own the ‘mlb.com’ domain, so use that, it will make it much clearer that you are linking to your own content.

3. Have a ‘reply-to’ address that accepts email.
I wrote a reply to the email I received, to the reply-to address “feedback@webmail.mlb.com”, but I got an ‘undelivered’ error message because your server would not accept it. If I can’t reply to an email I have received it makes me more wary about where it may have come from.

Thanks for reading this far. I hope you will find these suggestions helpful – I think they would improve the impression you make on your customers.

regards
Edward Harman

Oops, since I can’t email them, I couldn’t email them this message, and it is too long for their web page contact form, so I figured I would paste it here and send them a link. After all, it’s not different from what they’re doing, and my URL matches my email address domain.

One Comment

  1. Shawn
    Posted October 4, 2007 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I could not agree more, it’s a shame how unsophisticated the mlb.tv operation has been.

    Don’t get me wrong, the video service is great, but the website and account management features are just horrid.

    MLB if you ever read this implement Edward’s suggestion.

    Thanks

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