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Stop the madness! My war against stupid emails

Here's how my day always starts. I wake up, roll out of bed, check my email and immediately begin hitting "delete."

Delete, delete, delete. Every day, all day. Apparently some in the PR industry must get paid by the number of emails they send, because that's the only explanation for the couple hundred irrelevant and ridiculous messages I receive every day that have nothing to do with my job at CNBC.

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Dragan Radojevic | Getty Images

Here is a sample from this morning:

"NetApp will be featuring leading industry solutions for your data storage and management requirements."

"YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles to host Healthy Kids Day."

"News: Argentina announces Business and Investment Forum in September."

"Social Reality Appoints Rahul Thumati as Chief Financial Officer."

"In his new book, Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane, bestselling author Brett King gives insight into what the future will look like in the next 20 years and beyond."

"Dr. Theresa Ashby launched Dynam Consulting, an executive advisory firm focused on creating powerful, competent and confident thinkers throughout organizations and developing groundbreaking strategic plans and processes that move organizations forward."

And this one:

I decided to fight back. I was getting carpal tunnel hitting "delete" all day. So for the last two weeks I have taken the extra time to go through these emails and find the "unsubscribe" button. In addition, I have been replying with my own email:

Hey there,

I get several pitches a day that have almost nothing to do with CNBC or my areas of coverage. I'm starting to send out this email to let you know when to pitch me a story, and when not to.

At CNBC I cover defense, aerospace, agriculture, legal marijuana, Las Vegas and the California economy. I do not cover real estate. I do not cover media. I do not cover technology.

For CNBC.com, I also do a franchise called Strange Success, which focuses on weird companies where the path to success has also been weird, and annual revenues have grown to at least $1 million. And by weird, I don't mean a pizza business. I mean a business focusing on curing hangovers, life-size sex dolls, getting rid of bathroom odor, where the creator of the business has had an odd path to success.

I do not interview experts or authors. I interview CEOs, and for on-air, the CEO usually has to run a publicly traded company with annual revenues in excess of $500 million. I do not interview moms who are disrupting the playdate business, or 10-year-old whiz kids who've created a crazy new app.

Please keep this in mind, so that we both save ourselves time and energy.

Thank you.
Jane Wells
CNBC

Sending this email, doing all that unsubscribing, took time. Instead of taking one second to hit "delete," I was spending 10 seconds on every email. However, I did it. I wanted people to know that it was unprofessional to spam the entire media world with their announcements. The best PR people I know are the ones who take a few minutes to do a little research on the reporters they're pitching. Those folks create compelling, relevant pitches, increasing their odds of success.

More than anything, however, I wanted to see a decline in frivolous inbox traffic.

I didn't.

The email situation, if anything, has gotten worse. I fear that by "unsubscribing," I have secretly alerted the very people I wanted to avoid to my actual existence. They see rejection as interest.

You win.

The only solution is to start charging for email, or at least some email. How about a system where you could have a list of contacts (friends, family, colleagues, vendors, clients) who could email you for free, a list you could expand as necessary? Anyone outside that list would have to pay to send you email. Overnight, the cavalcade of crap would stop.

Am I right? Let me know what you think (but not via email). Oh wait, here's another one I just received: "Starting to think about your holiday gift guides, Jane?" No, I'm not.

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