Bulc Club

The One Reason Companies Block Forwarding Services: Spam

News May 7, 2018

Mail Sorting and Routing

Typically, when a business wants to send you postal mail, they address it to your home address, pop it in a mailbox, and it’s picked up, routed, and delivered by the postman.

What is an email forwarding service?

Imagine that rather than receiving postal mail directly at your home address, you provide businesses with the address of a mail sorting and routing service. In this case, businesses would address it to them, instead. When the service receives it, they examine the return-to address and check that it’s acceptable from a list of senders that you provided to them. If so, they re-address the letter and place it in their outgoing mail to be delivered to your home address. If not, they drop it in the recycling bin. Your bank sends you a statement, the service confirms it’s allowed and passes it along. A credit card company is advertising a new, low interest rate, but they’re not on your list, so the service recycles it. Birthday cards are approved. A car insurance ad is rejected. Your power bill is forwarded. A home refinancing promotion is trashed.

This is essentially what email forwarding services do for your inbox. The only emails you receive are the ones you approve so you’re left with a clean inbox the same way a postal mail sorting service leaves your home mailbox with only the mail that you want. At its core, when you strip away all its unique and powerful features, Bulc Club is simply a free email forwarding service.

Legitimate businesses (your bank, your utility company, your favorite retail outlets) should have absolutely no problem with an email forwarding service as it clears away the clutter of their customers’ inboxes to ensure their statements, bills, and coupons aren’t lost in the shuffle. Everybody wins. As such, along with their customers themselves, these businesses should be the strongest proponents of services like Bulc Club. So why would there be any contention over subscribing to these statements, bills, and coupons with an email forwarding service? One reason: spam.

The only plausible reason that a business would disallow a forwarding service address (or email forwarder) is because they intend to use your email address for purposes other than sending you just the mail you’ve requested. They may attempt to make a case for ensuring prompt delivery or state concerns over third party technical issues, however those that opt to use email forwarding services generally know the truth.

The Golden Goose

Oftentimes, buried in the fine print, we can actually see this is part of their business practices. It’s not enough that you chose them as your banking provider, they make additional money on selling or sharing your email address to mortgagers, refinance companies, credit report services, credit card companies, and tons of other “marketing partners,” all in the name of providing their customers with unique opportunities. Take a look at the March 2017 privacy policy offered by Synchrony Bank (local copy), for an Old Navy Credit Card:

Synchrony / Old Navy Credit Card Privacy Policy

Synchrony shares your information in seven different ways, four of which you cannot limit (much less prohibit). The final way (sharing your information with nonaffiliates to marketing to you) has an asterisk which states:

*Please keep in mind that, as permitted by federal law, if you choose to limit our sharing of information with nonaffiliates, your choice will not prohibit us from sharing your information with Gap Inc. (and its affiliates) in connection with maintaining and servicing the Gap Credit Card, Gap Visa Card, Banana Republic Credit Card, Banana Republic Visa Card, Old Navy Credit Card, Old Navy Visa Card, Athleta Credit Card and Athleta Visa Card programs, including marketing of such programs.

Synchrony defines nonaffiliates as: Companies not related by common ownership or control. They can be financial and nonfinancial companies. Nonaffiliates we share with can include the retailer named on your account and direct marketing companies.

Synchrony also states: If you are a new customer, we can begin sharing your information 30 days from the date we sent this notice, or earlier if you consent or for types of information for which you do not have the right to limit our sharing. When you are no longer our customer, we continue to share your information as described in this notice.

Invalid email addressCuriously, if you go to the footer of Old Navy’s home page and use a Bulc Club forwarder in an attempt to sign-up for the Old Navy newsletter—which provides information about “new arrivals, buzzy sales & other very nice things”—you’ll be presented with an error that states “Invalid Email Address.” Old Navy blocks email forwarding services and one only has to look at their credit card’s privacy policy to identify why.

Scanning through their site’s privacy policy from September 2017, you’ll see similar verbiage:

How does Gap Inc. Use My Information?

How does Gap Inc. use my information?

  • To communicate with you and to send you information by email, postal mail, telephone, text message, or other means about our products, services, contests, and promotions, including marketing communications that we believe may be of interest to you
  • To provide consistent, personalized services across all channels and all of our brands, including to personalize our advertising, marketing communications, shopping experiences and promotional offers
  • To administer and fulfill our contests and other promotions


Why Use an Email Forwarding Service?

Oftentimes, a customer’s privacy and communication preference is ignored to advance a business’s unethical marketing tactics and generate more income. Unfortunately, this practice is becoming increasingly common and justified by the ruse of providing information (offers, opportunities) they believe will interest their customers. It’s the modern equivalent of the Golden Goose, where the appreciation for customer’s patronage is overshadowed by greediness and impatience to profit more, faster.

Email forwarding services provide a means for customers to level the playing field with features that block all email except those from one sender’s address (e.g., receipts@oldnavy.com) or one sender’s mailserver domain (e.g., www.oldnavy.com). This way you can keep the receipt and block the spam.

If retail outlets allow email forwarding services, we can continue to patronize their businesses while protecting our privacy, communication preferences, and inboxes.

If retail outlets like Old Navy continue to block email forwarding services, referring to them as invalid email addresses, we must then make an important decision: If this business actively disrespects our wishes, should we continue to patronize them?

Bulc Club is a 100% free email forwarding and filtering service that provides our Members with unlimited email forwarders. Tired of receiving spam? Join the Club