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Respecting email addresses

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday August 15, 2009 )

Once you have a subscriber, be sure to treat their email address with respect – don’t see their subscription and details as permission to do with as you will.

Some companies feel that it’s ok to build a list and then use it to seed other projects – other sites they may have or launch or even partner with. That’s fine if you’re sending out a blast under the original newsletter or communication the person actually subscribed to; but not under the new brand.

While there’s no law against it per se; it can reflect badly on your company as the question of trust comes in. Some of your subscribers might think “if they are sending me this, which I never subscribed to.. what else are they going to send me”. Some may also fear that having done this, you may even go as far as giving their details to another company.

Good subscribers, the ones who will actually read and take an interest in your communications, are hard to come by.

Where you can land in really hot water in terms of details subscribers or members provide you is going even further and sending communications to that person’s own contacts.

A social networking site was recently served with formal notice that the Attorney General on New York intends to sue the company for what he says is deceptive email marketing practices and invasion of privacy. The Attorney General alleges that the company tricked members into providing access to their personal email contacts, which the company then used to send millions of promotional emails. It’s alleged these solicitations were made to appear as if they were coming from a personal contact, when they were actually spam.

I’ve had a ton of similar invitations from a variety of networks land in my inbox. It’s incredibly annoying when someone you don’t even know but just happens to have your email address is caught out by these ploys.

Some would call this clever marketing, but deception isn’t clever, it’s just deception – and if marketers don’t start holding themselves to a better set of ethics soon, government regulation will – and that’s what we don’t want.


Lies, damned lies and online marketing


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