Email Marketing Company Plagiarized My Work!

A reader of AttentionMax just brought to my attention that an executive at an email marketing company blatantly plagiarized my work – specifically my last column in MediaPost titled “Media Specialists Must Embrace Consumer-Generated Media”. This plagiarizer appears to be Matt Rohan, Vice President of Operations at JMAX Direct.

Unbelievably, this guy cut and pasted my last column nearly word for word, swapping a few words here and there. Mainly, he substituted any reference of “consumer-generated media” and “CGM” with “permission-based email” or “PBE”. He then emailed it to his clients, including one who forwarded it to me. He took my work, mangled it, called it his own, and then titled it “Media Outreach Today Volume VII.”

Message to Matt Rohan: You can share my work with your clients and prospects, but please don’t alter it and do be sure to credit me! Those were my ideas, my words. Not yours! They’re mine. Mine, I tell you!


Oh…here’s the altered version:


From: matt rohan <>



Date: Aug 7, 2006 1:50 AM

As advertising dollars continue to bum-rush the Internet, many media specialists contend that permission based double opt in emails increase discussion groups and other forms of consumer-generated media represent easy, additional inventory to grow and satisfy demand.

Indeed, several of the biggest media companies–like Yahoo, MSN, News Corp., IAC and others–are placing big bets on the promise of permission based emails as ad vehicles.

Permission based emails has arrived as a center of gravity, and advertising is following.

But I fear that too many advertising and media buyers are jumping in head-first with little appreciation or respect for this new world, which is fundamentally different. Unlike most other media, permission based emails are generally for, by and all about the consumer we are trying to target.

Media departments, both traditional and interactive, should slow down and better  understand the world of permission based emails before applying traditional conventions, which are often rooted in oversimplified constructs of controlled impressions, reach and frequency.

So what are some of the new dimensions that media specialists need to embrace?

*Permission based emails= Extreme Intimacy and Interactivity*

First, it’s important to note that levels of audience interactivity and intimacy with PBE can be extraordinarily high. The fact is that media buyers have a legacy of paying for eyeballs by placing ads primarily inlow-engagement, impersonal and passive vehicles. But in PBE especially when passionate audiences are actively participating and communicating with one another, sensitivity to surrounding advertising messages has
potential to increase dramatically while tolerance decreases.

(A good analogy is those interruptive telephone solicitations we all used to get at the dinner table. Thank God for the Do Not Call registry!)

Of course, there is a wide spectrum of interaction and intimacy across PBE platforms: personal list emails, pay per click and cost per action password-protected e-mail groups and a host of other venues.

And there is no absolute rule for what different points along those spectrums mean for the effectiveness of different forms of advertising. But the fact remains: these two dimensions differentiate PBE from other media vehicles and should be watched for their potential impact, good or bad.

 *Permission based emails =Niches Require Greater Contextual Acumen*

Second, it’s important to note that PBE is not only prolific, but seemingly feasible as an advertising vehicle thanks to aggregation and networks. But that newfound reach is complicated by vast niche content, which can equate to huge content variation and unpredictability. That means smart, automated and contextual tracking tools and strategies are critical.

This is true for placing ads in contexts where you want them, and where
you really don’t.

*Becoming A Participant Necessitates Non-Advertising*

With so much money pouring into the Internet, media departments are
increasingly moving beyond advertising on tradtional platforms and into
the role of active participant.

While media professionals have impressive budgets and skills in paid-media planning, too often that expertise brings approaches that clash with the norms of uncontrolled social media.

Disruptive, abundant, irrelevant, self-congratulatory or exaggerated communications (or often gimmicks) may be tolerated in paid, one-way media, but the game changes with PBE.

Becoming an active customers means entering into direct conversations with consumers, where there is a far greater expectation of humanness, honesty and transparency. There is an expectation of conversation and social exchange when consumer complete the sort forms, specifically not advertising. Respecting this core rule of most PBE venues is paramount.

*Permission based emails: It All Starts With Customer Respect and

Is PBE an area media specialists should avoid? Absolutely not! While PBE can seem a strange and unwieldy place, the reality is that it is here to stay and is likely to grow in importance. Media specialists must embrace it.

But more important than a new advertising medium or venue in which to hawk products, PBE represents one of the most powerful listening devices advertisers and their media specialists have ever had.

PBErepresents a massive, public megaphone for the consumer, aimed straight in the ear of the advertisers. This is enabling consumers to hold advertisers more accountable than ever before–accountable for their products, customer service, competitive differentiation, value and, yes, the integrity of the very advertising and marketing communications themselves! PBE is helping to dismantle many of the artificial walls that traditional paid media helped to create between advertisers and their customers.

So what is the bottom line with PBE? Let JMAX Direct permission based email solutions drive customers to your web-site.

Whether in the context of media planning or active participation, media buyers must respect the consumer like never before.

And there is no better way to embrace this notion and all its nuances than to heavily engage in PBE as a consumer, yourself.

Matthew Rohan
Vice President of Operations
JMAX Direct, Inc.
Media Outreach Today Volume VII


Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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  1. This is too funny…the nerve of some people! Plagiarists must be prosecuted.

  2. This is too funny…the nerve of some people! Plagiarists must be prosecuted.

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