Earlier this year I read about Jot, a company that makes a liquid coffee concentrate, and I decided to order a bottle of their product to try it out. I live in Seattle and coffee is obviously very important to my culture as well as my household. So I'm always up to try something new in that realm.
Jot has a slick, modern site like pretty much every new wannabe-disruptive startup, replete with their deeply thought philosophy that was engineered to justify why – despite coffee already being everywhere – they had figured out a way to do instant coffee with new technology that would present a better product with less waste.
The ordering process was easy. The product shipped fast and everything was fine. In the end, their products was just OK. Not revolutionary for me. A nice balanced cup (if you're into light, caramel roasts) and a solid alternative to spray dried instant coffee like Starbucks Via. (Just ignore the fact that the latter doesn't come in a liquid form that needs to be kept in the fridge after opening).
The reason for this two star review isn't about the company, their website or the product. It is about this company's lack of respect for my privacy and their sending multiple unsolicited marketing messages over the course of a year despite repeated requests for them not to market to me and repeated interactions with this company's otherwise responsive customer service that they were sorry for the oversight and would correct it.
The bottom line is as much as this company represents itself as a fresh, modern startup, they suffer from a very old disease with US companies when it comes to online commerce. When you give them your personal information to fulfill an order, they will keep it for the remainder of your time on this earth and will pretty much completely ignore your requests to be treated like a person instead of a commodity.
After placing my first order with Jot I immediately sent a separate, preemptive message to their customer service asking them not to market to me. This was acknowledged with a promise that my privacy was "very important" to them. That was April. By August, I guess my privacy was no longer very important as they sent me another unsolicited message hawking their products. Again, I contacted their customer service department. They apologies, indicated it was some kind of mistake or glitch and said it was now corrected. And while it always sounds sincere, it never is as pretty much every company employs this exact same tactic.
While I had hoped that would be the last time that I heard from Jot, why should I be surprised to wake up this morning (late October now) to find yet another unwanted marketing message in my inbox. Sigh.
I'm going to keep beating the drum on this until companies get their head out of their behinds on this. Here is the compact: You have a product. I give you my money and you deliver the product. Our business is done. Simple. I'm not providing my information so I can become a commodity for your company to exploit until I'm in the grave (or even after). It's one thing if people want marketing or don't care. But for those of us who do, it just disgusts me that a company would be so driven by greed that they would ignore the stated preferences of a customer.
I didn't love Jot's product but after trying it I might have been inclined to buy it again. I even actually did order another bottle for a friend. But Jot – though their marketing practices – has converted me into a "maybe repeat" customer to someone who will avoid them like the plague. Whatever marketing experts convinced these companies that badgering people with marketing is a best practice for success should consider the irony of what they're doing.