On location-aware criteria-based e-mail advertising

It is sometimes hard to understand how little online direct marketing has developed over the last 10 years. I am talking here about location-aware advertising, where in e-mail marketing you get served information, ads and offers that are really relevant to you. Spammers will not do this in the nearest future, true, but well respected companies should.

The recent cases of information turned to spam at customers end that come to my mind have been various magazine offers and competitions from US. All of them in capital letters promote free trial issues, wonderful prizes or other similar bonuses, only to be found out later when you have clicked on their pages that the offers are valid in US only. What is strange is these offers mostly come from places which when registering have asked me to fill in long forms about my location, interests, hobbies, income, pets, professional experience, sexual habits etc. Based on this they should figure out much better what is of interest and what is not. Might be they just do not know where Estonia or Europe is.

Most of them do not take criticism on this well either. When I sent an e-mail about this to Techrepublic, the only answer I got was a template-based answer that their listserver has unsubscribed me from their mailing lists.

Sometimes the companies doing this try to answer that it is because of legal reasons why they can not accept participants from Europe. It would be so easy to filter their outgoing direct mails then the way that they do not get sent to irrelevant potential target groups. Why ask for the information in the first place, if you do not use that. I always wonder, how the information in the registration forms gets used, right now unfortunately most companies just keep collecting, but not actually using it.

edit: Just remembered two companies that have recently tricked or annoyed me as well. Napster got me to download and install their software, only to tell me then it is not available in Estonia. And then there is Paypal, which is available only in a small limited list of countries and is losing a lot of customers because of that.