The joy of email… er… 

7 March 2004

Getting email from the BBC

Google is the world’s best website. Simple, easy to use and giving you what you want when you want it with no faff and no bias.

Second best? BBCi, aka BBC Online. No commercial ‘competitor’ has managed to come within a lightyear of the high-quality, in-depth totality of BBCi.

If Google = the internet, then BBCi = the reason for having the internet.

But BBCi’s email functions don’t quite work as well.

I subscribe to BBC Daily News (fabulous), BBC-4 Weekly Update (so many programmes I don’t have time for but wish I did) and 1xtra BBC.

The latter relates to a radio station that, whilst I approve of it’s existance on principle, I loathe in terms of the music, which does nothing for me.

I signed up before the station launched, on the basis that a new BBC radio station is wonderful, even if it isn’t aimed at me. Everyone needs to grow up with the BBC as a part of their lives – it’s the definition of being British.

But it’s been a catalogue of errors so far on this particular list.

On 20 January 2004, I got two identical emails inviting me to join in a competition, sent 10 minutes apart. An easy mistake. Only I got it again the next day, too.

But in between, I also got an email promoting a specific nightclub event… and two days later:

Dear 1Xtra Newsletter Subscriber,

We’d like to apologise for the newsletter you may have receieved on 20 January 2004 from 1Xtra.

A human error led to the email being sent out by mistake. 1Xtra does in no way endorse the ‘Breakbeat Connection’ event and the email should never have been sent.

We hope that you will continue to enjoy the 1Xtra newsletters.


The 1Xtra Team.

And then I get this week’s email, quoted in full:

If you’ve got plans this weekend the cancel them! 1Xtra brings you the biggest exclusives and hottest features straight from the club to your email. ** Drum & Bass Goes Global ** Not released for weeks, be the first to hear the DJ Marky & XRS debut album at: ** Keisha White Xclusive ** Up and coming UK RnB singer Keisha White dropped in and sung you an acoustic set. It’s a 30 day online exclusive, so you know you don’t wanna sleep on it: ** Drama at the UK Hip Hop Awards ** Were you at the Awards? Do you think beef will ruin the UK scene? Have your say and listen to what Chester P and Tommy Evans have to say: ** Iceberg Slimm on 1XMusic ** Iceberg Slimm talks to Ras Kwame about his controversial US flow and his brand new album Da World On Ice: ** Re-live Trinidad Carnival ** Didn’t manage to make it to Trinidad? Don’t worry, live it through our carnival mini-site. Watch videos, check galleries and listen to live gigs: Don’t forget you can listen to 1Xtra on DAB, digital, TV and online. If you wanna get in touch, drop us an email at or head to our message boards: *** If at any time you decide you don’t want to be a member anymore all you need to do is send an e-mail to typing the following in your message: unsubscribe 1Xtra. Or if you want to cancel your membership from another e-mail account (not the one you originally used to join the newsletter group) write in the message: unsubscribe 1Xtra (…and add the e-mail address where the newsletter gets sent to here…).

Would anyone like to try to make sense of that? No, I thought not.

So I hit ‘reply’ and asked for it to be more readable.

And a reply comes back instantly:

From Jade XXXXX

Thanks for your email, I am away from the office untill Mid July as I am on maternity leave.

Please forward all your mail to

That’s not good. However, I’m in a stubborn mood (is there any other?) and the email gets sent again.

But no:

From Kasey XXXXX

Hi, thanks for the mail – i’m afraid i am out of the office until 15th March.

If you have an urgent Early Breakfast enquiry, please contact Karen XXXXX (

Many Thanks.

Kasey xx

Well, third time lucky, I’ve written to Karen.

And, so far, no Outlook Out-Of-Office autoresponder. That’s great.

But perhaps the BBC needs a central email bod to take care of these things… this being just a bit of advice from someone who, in real life, does exactly that job for real money away from the pretend world of the media.

And no, I don’t want said job at the BBC. But thanks for thinking of me.

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