High tech's e-mailer downright loopy
By John Duchemin
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Hawai'i Technology Trade Association reached hundreds of people with its e-mail newsletter and then reached them again, and again, and again, and again, and ...
A human error caused the HTTA, the state's chief lobbying group for high-tech companies, to inundate e-mail recipients with hundreds of copies of the newsletter.
Business people reported receiving hundreds of the e-mails Tuesday evening and yesterday morning. Public relations consultant Eileen Mortenson, for example, had more than 300 of the newsletters in her e-mail "in box" Tuesday night, and several hundred more waiting yesterday morning.
Programmers at CP Interactive, the Web developer for HTTA, said the problem lay in confusion over the contents of the organization's e-mail list.
The newsletter was sent as a form letter to each member of that list. But the list, unbeknownst to CP Interactive, also contained an e-mail link that essentially made it a looping reference to itself, said Allen Galiza, programmer for CP Interactive, a subsidiary of the public relations firm Communications Pacific.
As a result, the message was sent over, and over, and over, until the network co-location firm
NetEnterprise, over whose lines much of the e-mail traffic was traveling, noticed the problem and pulled the plug, Galiza said.
HTTA executive director Ann Chung said she was "inundated" yesterday with calls from annoyed recipients. Chung and CP Interactive sent out an e-mail apologizing for the event and appealing for understanding.
"Please accept our heartfelt apologies for the multiplicity of emails that ensued last night for many of you," Chung wrote. "We have rectified the problem and can assure you that this will never happen again. We hope that you will consider all of the good work that HTTA has done in the past and weigh this against your immediate irritation."
Some recipients, however, saw humor in the situation.
"I find it extremely ironic that a technology trade association cannot deliver its own e-mail efficiently," said business consultant Marty Plotnick, who received 156 of the e-mails, causing his Lava.net e-mail account to overflow.
The simple lesson, Galiza said, is that HTTA and CP Interactive need to communicate better.
"People just need to talk more and find out all the details of a situation before acting," he said. "That goes for pretty much anything."
Reach John Duchemin by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 525-8062.