Denny’s Daily Zinger: Note to Carbonite – Hire a Copywriter and Fire Pete Lamson

One of the Carbonate emails that scared the hell out of Denny.

The second Carbonate email that scared the hell out of Denny.

I have entrusted the contents of my entire computer to Carbonite on an ongoing basis.
For $59 a year, Carbonite acts as a backup service. If a Malaysian Air jetliner crashes into my house—and I’m somewhere else at the time—I sleep at night knowing my life’s work is in the Carbonite cloud.

I no longer sleep easy after two scary-as-hell emails from Carbonite:

1. Don’t let your 0 files go unprotected – Subscribe now
You currently have 0 files on your computer … backed up with Carbonite. Subscribe NOW

2. Our Error, Our Apologies

Dear Denny,

I am writing as a follow up to an email you may have received this morning suggesting you have no files backed up with Carbonite. This email was sent in error, resulting from a customer communications mistake. If you are an active subscriber, at no point was your account or stored data affected.

We apologize … blah, blah, blah.

Best Regards, 

Pete Lamson SVP, Sales & Marketing

Takeaways to Consider

  • The line: “If you are an active subscriber …”
  • What the hell do you mean, IF you are an active subscriber”???
  • Don’t you KNOW I’m an active subscriber???
  • Why is your text in unreadable light gray?
  • Fire your incompetent web designer.
  • Now I’m really scared of Carbonite. Just received a third email:
    SUBSCRIBE TODAY: Keep your 0 files protected
    Time is running out.
    Subscribe now to keep your files protected.
  • Carbonite cannot be trusted with data.
  • What to do?

Denny Hatch’s new book is “Write Everything Right!” Dan Poynter writes, “Today’s readers have lousy attention spans. Denny Hatch reveals the tested and proven attention-getting (and attention- holding) secrets of an elite, anonymous cadre of writers. They earn six and seven figures a year. Write Everything Right! is for all who put words on paper (or a digital screen) for others to readClick here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach Denny at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • Megan @ Carbonite

    Hi Denny – Again, I apologize for the messages that were sent out last week. They were the result of human error – a customer marketing mistake. I’d like to respond to your points:

    – “If you are an active subscriber…” – The email went out to people that are active Carbonite customers, meaning they have a paid plan with us and are currently backing up data, as well as some people who started a trial with us but never bought a paid subscription. We wanted to make sure that active customers knew that this email mistake was completely separate from their account and stored data – which was never impacted.
    – Re: the text color and design – Once we realized the mistake and stopped the emails, we wanted to get a correction/apology note out as soon as possible. I’ll mention to the team that the text was hard to read.
    – The 3rd email – There were two emails sent in error, and we stopped them as soon as we realized the issue. However, batch emails sometimes take a while to make it to the individual’s inbox. So while we had stopped the “zero files” emails and followed up with an apology/correction email, some people received one or both of the error emails after the apology, even though emails had ceased coming from us several hours before.
    – Trusting Carbonite with your data – We completely understand how stressful and jarring the email was to our customers who rely on us to protect their data. I just want to reiterate that this was just a case of human error when it came to sending out an email. Customer information and data is completely separate, and they were not impacted by this issue.

    I hope the transparency we’ve shown, along with our sincere apologies, will help to assure you that we are still a trusted partner in data protection. I’ve attached my email address to this comment, so please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

    -Megan @ Carbonite

  • GeorgeM

    Yes, and my version of this are the emails I get from automation marketing company Marketo. They purportedly offer intelligent email and sales automation tools, yet I get bombarded from multiple reps, none of whom seem to know the what the other is doing or why they contacted me, and none answer my original questions. I suggested they switch their marketing automation to a competitor.

  • bowser

    so you make a Malaysian Airlines joke/reference – wow! you should be the one fired!

  • mikewrite

    Unreadable light, grey text should be banned from internet usage. Only an idoit would use it, or someone who is afraid of having the text read.

  • Thomas (Tom) Smith, III

    Confusion = distrust. Distrust = lost customers.

    Use your CRM. Keep it clean and up to date. It’s the lifeblood of your business.

  • Larry

    Use Mozy instead.

  • GLR

    Gee, ya think there’s a “pro” version in the offing, for more than the lousy $59 you’re ponying up now? Get out now.

  • Will Belden

    Might I recommend CrashPlan? I dropped Carbonite and Mozy Home quite a while back because they didn’t allow network drives to be backed up. CrashPlan seems to be SO much better thus far.