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How can you be so BCC stupid?

January 21, 2011

The embarrassing subject of embarrassing CC’d email mistakes rose it’s ugly head again today, when the office chat turned to Alex Epstein ( Unemployed Head of Communications/contestant) from Lord Sugar's TV series The Apprentice.

This week he pulled an amazing stunt by emailing over 700 press contacts asking for a job and unbelievably, instead of pressing the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) button, he chose CC (Carbon Copy) leaving every single email address visible to all recipients!!

Amidst the general howls of derision at Alex Epstein's apparent faux pas, there has also been plenty of speculation as to whether this was an accident or a clever PR stunt. Only time will tell if this was an incredible mistake or a piece of PR genius. Whichever, it has certainly brought Alex Epstein back to the forefront of the public conscience, whether for good or for bad.

All of this reminded me of a nightmare email that a couple of us here received back in November, along with hundreds of other unassuming recipients. Here you go...

“XXXX Gentlemen’s Lounge would like to invite you, your friends and colleagues to celebrate with Christmas Drinks at XXXX’s most luxurious and sophisticated Gentlemen’s Lounge…
We have great deals and packages like the Exclusive Executive Lounge for you and up to 40 guests and the most stunning girls until the early hours or just drinks where you and the lads can celebrate, kick back and relax. Please call to find out more…”

The most shocking thing was that hundreds of others were openly CC’d; revealing each and every person’s personal email address! The implications of being listed on the database of a gentleman’s club were just too much to bear for some recipients, sparking off many more mass CC’d emails! Ironically, the reason why we were on the list in the first place, was because they had previously asked us to manage their email campaigns...

As you can imagine, on the back of this email, due to the nature of the business, there were some very witty responses, along with some defensive and angry ones…and amusingly enough, every response was again CC’d to the masses. Whilst the email banter was highly entertaining to the neutral, it is still unbelievable that this sort of thing regularly happens.

There was further mention today about a recruitment consultant, who in his first week in the job, CC'd a personal job offer email to several people, including the prospective employee’s current employer…that didn’t go down to well either.

And for those Apprentice fans, just out of interest, here's just a snippet of Mr Epstein’s nauseating “Gizza job” style email:

“Having recently been fired by Lord Sugar, I’m currently looking for opportunities to share some of my passion for enterprise, marketing and public relations. During my time on The Apprentice I impressed and entertained the nation with my creative ideas, from devising names such as the Cuuli and Boozy Banger to working on one of the biggest product launches/mistakes the cleaning market has ever seen - Germinator! And that’s what makes me unique - I’m bold, full of personality, entertaining, and really do believe in learning from my mistakes. I’d like to pitch myself as someone who would be interested in opportunities within your publication. I have lots of ideas in this area......." Blah, blah, blah...

Of course there have been hundreds of witty retorts and lots of Twitter trending about Mr Epstein.
Derek Lock at Frommers quipped, “We’re a travel company. Maybe you should leave the UK?”
Matt Moore at improvementandinnovation.com replied, “As the editor of a resource devoted to business excellence and continuous improvement, you will find some useful tips on our site about eliminating defects from your processes. Happy reading!”

In the meantime, we can only wish Alex, the Unemployed Head of Communications all the best with his mission to get a job/annoy everyone. Mistake or stunt, what do you reckon? One thing’s for sure, he won’t get away with it a second time...

Posted by Jenni Malley
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