7 MILLION EMAILS FOR HIRE
With the whole world crying out against the constant barrage of spam besieging their inboxes, is our industry doing all that it can to prevent spam, or actually making matters worse?
Stunning as it may seem, I am still coming across adverts to sell lists. “7 Million Email addresses for rental” the advert screams.
What they the customers purchasing these lists fail to realise is that the original granted to use the email addresses has long been abused by a continuous stream of untargeted, irrelevant emails, as the lists are used again and again by different companies and brands.
As the godfather of permission marketing himself, Seth Godin, states in his book on the subject, "It's clear to me that the most important part of the permission troika – anticipated, personal and relevant – is anticipated. And Spam is not just unanticipated, it's dreadful."
On a daily basis I am asked ‘do you sell lists?’. Like a CD player on repeat I have to deliver the same speech, talking of the benefits of building lists organically through clever online partnerships, competitions and text back-facilities, rather than risking damage to your brand by using rented lists.
List brokers do have a place in the market but the brands must be clear as to their intended goals. If the numbers game is the immediate priority, with the emphasis on building up customer databases using brokered lists, BEWARE!
A major UK animal charity unfortunately made a couple of gaffs recently by sending a mass mailout to bemused residents in Virgina, USA. Two weeks later, Texans received pleas to protect British kittens during Guy Fawkes' night! Relevant, focused, targeted? I’m afraid not.
Good businesses are based on credibility, and that has usually been built up over many years. It can take one Spam too many to lose it. Going down what appears to be the easy route isn’t quite so easy when it attracts negative publicity. The simple answer is just don’t do it!
As each industry body advocates the anti-Spam route, the Advertising Standards Authority finally took a stance last month, advocating that companies obtain explicit consent before sending email and SMS. This is good news!
With the EU Data Directive now in place in the UK as well as most of Europe, it will be illegal to send an email or SMS without the express permission or the recipient.
So although we cannot directly stop spamming companies from hiding behind false email addresses and relaying mass mailouts via far-afield countries like North Korea, let’s see if the industry, the email marketing companies, the agencies and the brands themselves can take a long, hard-look at how to stamp out spam in the digital media industries. It’s really not that hard to be ethical.
Darren Fell, Managing Director of Purepromoter (www.purepromoter.com)
Darren, along with his team have built one of the first ethical electronic messaging companies and adopts a system called Requested Customer Relationships (RCR) which automatically ensures the brands do not inadvertently continue to Spam their target audience. This is how the company got the name ‘Pure’, says Darren.
Email Darren at: firstname.lastname@example.org
RCR is a system that for the first time puts the recipient in control of their Inbox by allowing them to select as much or as little further communication from that company. If they are distrusting of the opt-out link, RCR will automatically opt them out after a few more mails and one warning mail. This ensures brands are protected and only those who continue to find this information relevant and useful, continue to receive it. RCR is currently undergoing the Patent process.