Thursday, January 13, 2005

Disclaimers in emails

Have you ever received an email with a footer about a mile long, with text like this?
Disclaimer: This message and any attachment(s) contained here are information that is confidential, proprietary to Company and its customers. Contents may be privileged or otherwise protected by law. And so on...
Here are some of my favourite parts.
The information is solely intended for the individual or the entity it is addressed to.
Yeah, but if it didn't reach them, then you screwed up.
If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you're not authorized to read, forward, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it.
But, this information is at the bottom of your email. This means that I have to read the email first and then get to the footer to read this part of the disclaimer. Maybe you should have put this in the beginning of the email.
If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and delete it from your computer.
So, you want me to send an email to a person that might have sent me an email by mistake. Really, I have nothing better to do, so I'll do what you ask. Especially since you're admitting that it's your mistake. Does anyone like receiving an email with text like this? Is this ever going to prevent people from reading the email? What's the point? You want to satisfy some lawyer? Corporate policy? How about a message with a footer that simply says:
If you received this email as a result of an error, we are sorry. Can you do us a favour so that this doesn't happen again? Please click here and we'll ensure that it doesn't happen again.
It's no Pulitzer Prize winning entry but it's so much shorter and simpler. And, at least I might be willing to do something to help, if you admit it's your mistake.


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