Red Hat are marketing email spammers now (in the traditional way)

June 12, 2015

We used to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (in our previous fileserver generation and in a few other roles), although we've wound up switching to CentOS. As part of having those RHEL machines we have a RHN account, which is registered with a specific email alias here. RHN uses that email address to do things like notify us about important security updates, machines not responding, and so on. Although in practice all of those are basically noise, that's okay; that's what we registered the email address for and RHN is only doing what we told it to.

The other day we got the following email to that address from a Red Hat address, sent from Red Hat's own SMTP servers:

Subject: Red Hat Forum: Build an Efficient and Agile IT Organization for the Future - On Behalf Red Hat

Dear Valued Client,

We would like thank you for attending our Mobile Enterprise Application Workshop. We hope you enjoyed it. Since may of the attendees have requested, we are pleased to share with you our upcoming forum you may be interested in.

Join our annual Red Hat Forum on June 18 , 2015 for an insightful morning with industry leading analysts from IDC [...]

This is not RHN notification email. More than that, the first paragraph is a further lie; we didn't (and haven't) attended any Red Hat 'Mobile Enterprise Application Workshop'. Oh, and this claims to have been sent from Red Hat's Canadian office but includes no unsubscribe link, which means that it is clearly in violation of recent Canadian anti-spam legislation on top of everything else.

At one level I'm not particularly surprised. Companies do this all the time, often although not exclusively as a result of address list creep. Red Hat is just the latest one, and why would I be surprised at that? Everyone screws you eventually (it's why modern email is such a hassle).

At another level I'm terribly disappointed. At one time I could think of Red Hat as clearly good guys, people who would never ever behave in such an unethical and frankly slimy way. Clearly those days are over now, as Red Hat has given me a clear and unambiguous sign that marketing is winning over morals. I'm not sure what I can expect next, but I'm sure I'm not going to like it.

(Maybe Red Hat marketing will win the argument that everyone who has ever submitted a RHEL related Bugzilla report is fair game for RHEL related marketing emails.)

PS: I sent email to Red Hat when we got this email. I have of course received no reply.

(This elaborates on my tweet at the time.)

Written on 12 June 2015.
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Last modified: Fri Jun 12 01:19:04 2015
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