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Dearest NULL


In a pretty embarrassing snafoo (snafu?), our Desert Island Tool Email Blast, sent through Vertical Response, addressed many of our members as “NULL” rather than “Friend.”

This, of course, is a fail for mail merge, or when information from an address book (in our case, SSC users’ first names) is taken and automatically placed into the email. Most mail merge-ers give you an option for when a person’s record doesn’t have the requested information. So, for example, if Jimmy Potter didn’t provide his first name on his Social Source Commons account, mail merge gives us an option to provide another word to put in its place. I chose “Friend.” However, it looks like somewhere in the magic tubes of mystery and voodoo (otherwise known as computers and the internet), this broke down so that if a user did not supply a first name, instead of “Friend”, their first name was replaced with “NULL.”

As one of our users put it, it’s “Not so friendly to address your subscribers with ‘Null’…” (with all due respect to those actually named “NULL”). So if you are one of the unfortunate souls to have received a message to “NULL” rather than your (I’m sure) beautiful and lovely first name, we whole-heartedly and sincerely apologize. My bad.

Also? I now hate all online communications.


😉 Matt

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