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InVision adding client emails to their Marketing list – alternative?

almost 3 years ago from , Web Designer

Don't get me wrong, I love InVision – the product itself is great. It's been a staple in gathering feedback from clients for the past 6 months now.

Although, only to find out today that all of our clients who have commented on prototypes have automatically been added to their mailing list.

"I can confirm that when a user comments on a prototype, we treat them as any other user of the product and automatically subscribe them to our mailing list."

Yeah, some of you may think it's only a mailing list – just unsubscribe, but from our perspective, this looks unprofessional. We're sending a client to a link, only for their emails to be spammed by "Clark from InVision" – unacceptable in my opinion and I hope I'm not the only one.

Does anybody of any alternatives to InVision for gathering feedback from clients?

40 comments

  • Stephen OlmsteadStephen Olmstead, almost 3 years ago (edited almost 3 years ago )

    Hey folks, Stephen from InVision here- thanks for lifting this up. Was shocked to see this- doesn't sound right at all. I'm circling with our team RIGHT now and will get y'all an updated response ASAP. Suffice to say- subscribing someone to emails without their express permission is not something we support in the slightest. Swift action to this and update coming from our end very soon.


    UPDATE - 12/7/16 @ 3:00 PT

    Hey everyone- after deep review with the team, we located the issue going on here. Thanks for your patience. Here’s the details:

    What happened?

    Stakeholders without an InVision account who added their name and email to InVision in order to comment on a prototype were having their emails unintentionally (more on this in a sec) added to broader InVision marketing email list.

    How/Why did this happen?

    We use Hubspot as a central ‘bucket’ for our marketing pushes (such as our weekly email newsletter). There are several sources that feed into this system; one of those is Segment.io (a data piping infrastructure). Key point here- this service is not touched by our marketing team. Unfortunately when this was implemented, a bug caused the wrong parameter to pass over to Hubspot which in turn would mark the ‘email list’ flag for these non-registered users. This was in no way a nefarious email grab (which would be silly since that ultimately just leads to user frustration, unsubscribes, and spam complaints anyway). And while this was an honest mistake on the implementation side of things, we bear the responsibility here and apologize for any resulting frustration.

    What we’ve done and what we’re doing?

    Effective today we’ve pushed a fix that resolves this issue with Segment and ceases the behavior immediately. Furthermore, we are putting in place better internal measures to insure all sources feeding directly into our Hubspot account are audited and vetted for compliance on this issue.

    We are profusely sorry for this unintentional misstep. We appreciate everyone’s collective passion and patience today during the correction of this issue. Much love.

    49 points
    • Philip WeberPhilip Weber, almost 3 years ago

      I'd be most interested to know how it happened in the first place. Almost every designer I've ever known would be outraged if the company they worked for made a decision like that. It looks like you feel the same way. This decision was likely made without designers being involved.

      4 points
      • Stephen OlmsteadStephen Olmstead, almost 3 years ago (edited almost 3 years ago )

        Hey sir 100% agree. Plain and simple, this just shouldn't happen. Furthermore I'm not aware of any individual at our org who would endorse such a behavior willingly- its a 'no no' of the highest order that we take deadly serious.

        Total transparency and update: Initial investigation seems to indicate that this may not be occurring when external stakeholder comment for the first time as originally indicated, but rather a bug occurring when those first time users get @mentioned by another user in a comment. Currently the @mention is the top suspected culprit that we believe may be causing the subscribe flag to get accidentally thrown on a limited number of accounts. Thats the primary suspect as of right now. Still investigating to 100% rule out anything else here before I give the deeper dive report and all clear.

        Will continue to post updates here as I have them from the team so that y'all have complete visibility here.

        Again totally not intentional... and totally not excusable. Deeply sorry for this. Humble pie is a dish we're eating today. Thank you truly to the entire community for keeping us accountable and pushing on us here. More to come...


        UPDATE: Please see my topmost post on this. The issue ended up not being the @mentioning culprit as initially surmised, but rather a bug in the way Segment was passing data to our Hubspot system. Lots more details there. Thanks for your patience!

        12 points
      • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, almost 3 years ago

        This comment strikes me as a bit condescending, as if "designers" were some kind of morally superior uber-humans.

        Designers make bad decisions all the time. I don't think it projects a very good image of designers as a profession when the first reaction to somebody screwing up is “surely it couldn't have been a designer!”.

        8 points
    • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, almost 3 years ago (edited almost 3 years ago )

      BAM. Negative into a positive. I salute you for the balls to speak up in such fashion... even though it should be commonplace to do so amongst any organisation, anywhere.

      Thanks for being awesome.

      .edit: please don't add me to your email list just because I respond to your comment.

      13 points
    • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, almost 3 years ago

      Thank you for being so up-front about this. It's really good you all took this seriously, kept us informed and gave us a detailed response.

      3 points
  • john digger, almost 3 years ago

    http://clarkfrominvision.com relevant

    22 points
  • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, almost 3 years ago (edited almost 3 years ago )

    Definitely not good. I'd be very tempted to describe that as a dark pattern. I hope it's something they remove soon.

    21 points
  • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, almost 3 years ago

    Oh sorry didn't answer your question. What about Marvel? https://marvelapp.com/

    12 points
    • Dan WilkinsonDan Wilkinson, almost 3 years ago

      Thanks Ollie, will be giving Marvel a go

      0 points
    • Greg Warner, almost 3 years ago

      We've been using Marvel for over a year and a half, and I've really enjoyed it.

      1 point
    • James FutheyJames Futhey, almost 3 years ago

      +1 for Marvel. Evaluated both about a year and a half ago, and went with Invision (definitely better at the time). For commenting & Sketch integration, that is no longer the case.

      1 point
    • Steven CavinsSteven Cavins, almost 3 years ago

      Shouldn't we just ask them to respond or remove this practice before just jumping ship? Seems like if I knee-jerked every time a product did something bad, I'd be living in a tent in Montana.

      12 points
      • Dan WilkinsonDan Wilkinson, almost 3 years ago

        I've been speaking to support, their only solution was:

        "we do have an open feature request for preventing marketing emails from being sent to clients who add comments to a share link."

        0 points
        • Stephen OlmsteadStephen Olmstead, almost 3 years ago

          Hey Dan- we are all hands deck on this one right now. This is NOT intended behavior at all. Moving to remove immediately and investigate how and why this managed to operate like this. Its not a good practice or behavior for anyone involved. Fuller response and summary coming once we've nuked this and gone through paces here internally. In the meantime- deepest apologies and know that we're cranking to nullify this issue.

          9 points
      • Stephen OlmsteadStephen Olmstead, almost 3 years ago

        Hey Steven, appreciate the vote of confidence. This is certainly a serious concern and we're treating it as such. Actively resolving this now with the team. Sure do appreciate your support as we learn from unintentional mistakes here.

        8 points
  • Raudel EnriqueRaudel Enrique, almost 3 years ago

    So, I went ahead and read this thread fully before committing to writing. From the look of it, and from the InVision peeps replying to almost all comments, it sounds like it was a big old mistake/bug. It happens! I also agree with a comment below stating it would be cool to not totally stop using inVision because of this mess (not wrong to consider if you really feel like it tho).

    So, as far as alternative, I totally agree on https://marvelapp.com/ (used it, love it), try Adobe XD (beta :/), and try https://www.uxpin.com/examples.html. There's other stuff out there that requires a bit of a learning curve (http://principleformac.com/ and others) as well.

    6 points
    • Justin Delabar, almost 3 years ago

      I find it difficult to believe it was a bug. Since they use HubSpot, they'd need to call the HubSpot API to make it happen, which strongly suggests intentionality to me. To be fair, they seem to understand the severity of the issue and are acting appropriately.

      I find it particularly disappointing because I've been burned a couple times by their use of the annual/monthly pricing dark pattern (accidentally purchasing a full year subscription based on displayed single-month-only price). I don't think two instances of unfortunate functional behavior is necessarily indicative of the entire business, but it's seriously making me consider alternatives.

      3 points
      • Stephen OlmsteadStephen Olmstead, almost 3 years ago

        Justin- my promise to you is to post a full, transparent wrap of what happened here- looking to post technical replies direct from Engineering later today.

        Regarding annual/monthly plan stuff please hit me up at stephen@invisionapp.com. Would like to understand any opp to improve there and also hook you up with some free time on your existing plan for any inconvenience you experienced. A delightful experience with the solutions we offer is of paramount concern for us. If thats not happening, then we need to listen, take notes, improve AND do right by our mistakes. Thanks for your passion and encouragement to continue doing better- want to do right by you.

        4 points
      • Raudel EnriqueRaudel Enrique, almost 3 years ago

        I find it difficult to believe it as well, bug, or this happening at all. I'm glad this is not being ignored.

        2 points
  • Alessandro Stigliani, almost 3 years ago

    That's considered as SPAM, even if the initial intention was good, adding people on mailing lists without asking them beforehand is SPAM.

    5 points
    • Stephen OlmsteadStephen Olmstead, almost 3 years ago

      100% agree- this is totally unintended behavior- we're moving to strike this immediately and investigating how this happened in the first place. Many apologies!

      8 points
  • Ian GoodeIan Goode, almost 3 years ago

    So when a client clicks to add a comment, enters their name and email, Invision then adds that email to their email marketing list? If that's true (I've just done a test myself) then it's dirty behaviour indeed.

    3 points
    • Dan Amyot, almost 3 years ago

      Yes that's what he's saying is happening. Afaik (and I'm really not a lawyer) this could be against the Canadian Anti Spam Law, but take that with a grain or two of salt.

      0 points
    • Dan Wilkinson, almost 3 years ago

      Correct. We were only made aware because the client we're currently dealing with made us aware. After chasing it up with IV support, they confirmed that's the case.

      1 point
      • Stephen OlmsteadStephen Olmstead, almost 3 years ago

        Hey sir- replied to your other comment as well, but wanted to let you know were all over this. I've pulled in support to clarify and we're 100% cranking on nullifying this behavior as well as better understanding what caused this to occur in the first place. Sure do appreciate you bringing this to our attention and giving us a chance to fix. Mea culpa.

        5 points
        • Ryan B, almost 3 years ago

          My guess as to what caused this in the first place is that somebody set it up to intentionally do this... I hope you don't try and come up with excuses about this if that is the case and just apologise.

          0 points
  • Ricky SynnotRicky Synnot, almost 3 years ago

    Yeah I would agree that it's a trick or unethical way to drive email subscribers. Campaign monitor and Mailchip would have a problem with that behaviour. It's probably sanctioned in their terms, but it clearly doesn't help the original user out!

    2 points
  • Remus Baltariu, almost 3 years ago

    Oh, that's kinda bad from them.... I know that at some point I wanted to make a list of all the websites like inVision. Beside Marvel, you can give a try to https://symu.co/ and see if fits your needs.

    1 point
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 3 years ago

    Isn't it against the terms of use of newsletter apps like Mailchimp to subscribe users without their consent?

    1 point
  • Joachim TillessenJoachim Tillessen, almost 3 years ago

    InVision is very aggressive when it comes to marketing and I think this attitude has helped them grow in the past. However this behavior is completely unacceptable, it's bad enough if you lack respect for the privacy of your clients, but tricking them into compromising the privacy of THEIR clients is the worst.

    1 point
    • Stephen OlmsteadStephen Olmstead, almost 3 years ago

      Hey Joachim- we're passionate about the space and the folks that use our solutions. That said, this is not an intended part of that passion. I was dismayed to see that this behavior was occurring. Moving to strike it entirely and investigate how this happened in the first place so that it never happens EVER again. Our sincerest apologies in the meantime- will be back to follow up with a full report on this ASAP once we've finished our investigation and actioning of this.

      7 points
  • Bob Orchard, almost 3 years ago

    Give RedPen.io a try if you're looking for simple commenting that's super-fast or Marvel for clickable prototypes.

    0 points
  • Chris HampshireChris Hampshire, almost 3 years ago

    Usergroups would be a good alternative when sharing a link.

    0 points