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Email Address Appending Best Practices for Marketers
A Council for Responsible E-mail document
cyril kearney




msg:556562
 4:19 pm on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

This document draws upon the Direct Marketing Associationís (DMA) Online Commercial Solicitation Guidelines, which serves as a condition of DMA membership, and the Association for Interactive Marketingís (AIM) Council for Responsible E-mail (CRE) Six Resolutions for Responsible E-mail. Both of the aforementioned documents address standards for permission, content, unsubscribe and opt-out processes, third-party assurances, and suppression against the DMAís e-Mail Preference Service (e-MPS), a national list of individuals who do not wish to receive any e-mail solicitations. AIMís best practices serve as guides for its members.

[interactivemarketing.org...]

 

Crazy_Fool




msg:556563
 5:38 pm on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

don't forget the growing number of anti-spam laws that also apply. the bottom line is spam is spam and it still p1sses people off.

check the anti-spam laws:
[cauce.org...]
[euro.cauce.org...]
[spamlaws.com...]
(perhaps others could fill in the blanks?)

(ps - is ecommerce the best / most appropriate forum for discussion of spam methods? would a separate spam forum be more appropriate?)

heini




msg:556564
 5:53 pm on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think we are all pro enough to be able to discuss different approaches to marketing in a professional manner. Just as we can discuss banners, pop-ups and unders we don't need to go into holy wars.
If direct marketeers try and set up guidelines for a more responsible practise then taht is something worth discussing.

Crazy_Fool




msg:556565
 6:13 pm on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

in the ecommerce forum?

cyril kearney




msg:556566
 7:12 pm on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why not in the eCommerce forum?

eCommerce sites use a variety of methods to attract people to their sites including email.

Email has become just another business channel like postal mail, the telephone and faxes.

I think many site owners are aware that they are losing contact with a percentage of their customers because email address change at a rate of 2% to 3% a month.

What they don't understand is that there are legal and ethical ways to recover those links in a fashion that does not include spamming.

As far as I know, there are no laws in the US or anywhere else in the free world that prevent businesses from communication with customer by email when the customer is willing to get the correspondence.

Crazy_Fool




msg:556567
 7:20 pm on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

because ecommerce!= spamming and spamming!= ecommerce

nativenewyorker




msg:556568
 10:01 pm on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Laws regarding opt-out and unsubscribe are pure b.s. Spammers use these to verify that they have an active email address and the result is even more spam. Personally, I set kill filters in my mail program to delete anything that says "to opt-out" or "to unsubscribe" or "this cannot be considered spam". The last one is pretty funny.

Ted

tedster




msg:556569
 10:12 pm on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

The rise of extremely broad spam filtering is giving the opt-in email marketer a rough ride at present. After all, one of the basic tenets of permission marketing is to let the receiver get out of your distribution easily.

I read an interview on the topic in latest issue of Direct Magazine. There a major third party email campaign house mentioned that email open rates across all their lists have fallen from 60% to 20% in one year. That's so huge it sounds like a misprint.

This company handles in-house lists, all opt-in white hat stuff, and they're struggling right now. The bright spot is that click-through is way up (but that only makes sense.)

bird




msg:556570
 10:42 pm on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

As far as I know, there are no laws in the US or anywhere else in the free world that prevent businesses from communication with customer by email when the customer is willing to get the correspondence.

In most of Europe, consumer privacy and data protection legislation makes it illegal for a business to collect data about a customer that they don't need for those transactions that the customer has explicitly agreed to. In other words, what the DMA calls "Address Appending" (matching your customer database with external sources) is already prevented by law in a large part of the civilized world.

In the absense of decent consumer privacy protection legislation (eg. in the US), the intent behind the DMA document looks surprisingly reasonable. Of course, there's no way for an business buying an external e-mail list to verify that those addresses really are opted-in with affirmative consent, which in practise means that most aren't. In many cases, this will make it technically impossible to really follow those "best practises" in the way they are intended.

cyril kearney




msg:556571
 1:09 am on Mar 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

bird,
This is the draft not the final form of the EU directive I think you are talking about.

"(40) Safeguards should be provided for subscribers against intrusion of their privacy by unsolicited communications for direct marketing purposes in particular by means of automated calling machines, telefaxes, and e-mails, including SMS messages. These forms of unsolicited commercial communications may on the one hand be relatively easy and cheap to send and on the other may impose a burden and/or cost on the recipient. Moreover, in some cases their volume may also cause difficulties for electronic communications networks and terminal equipment.For such forms of unsolicited communica- tions for direct marketing, it is justified to require that prior explicit consent of the recipients is obtained before such communications are addressed to them. The single market requires a harmonised approach to ensure simple, Community-wide rules for businesses and users.

(41) Within the context of an existing customer relationship, it is reasonable to allow the use of electronic contact details for the offering of similar products or services, but only by the same company that has obtained the electronic contact details in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC. When electronic contact details are obtained, the customer should be informed about their further use for direct marketing in a clear and distinct manner, and be given the opportunity to refuse such usage. This opportunity should continue to be offered with each subsequent direct marketing message, free of charge, except for any costs for the transmission of this refusal."

As I read it, it requires prior consent. The best practices CRE document seems to me to fulfill this requirement.

It would be helpful if anyone could post an authorative referrence to the actual EU law or directive.

After all Email Appending Services exist in the UK.

lisaevenson




msg:556572
 6:15 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Amazing how ridiculous it is - We can get inundated with paper junk mail on a daily basis without ever giving our permission to have our personal information sold. Killing trees and requiring a prospective client to sit down, call a number, listen to an annoying, circular phone directory, then finally being forced to recite our name, address, customer ID, catalog ID, city, state, zip, AND reason for requesting deletion from their list is legal and accepted. While a simple environmentally friendly email that takes 2 seconds, if that, to delete is such an evil doer. I firmly support spam with open arms. Maybe then my mail carrier will not have to break his back walking through ice and sleet to deliver an ugly catalog for dog toys when I don't even have a dog.

lisaevenson




msg:556573
 6:18 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Amazing how ridiculous it is - We can get inundated with paper junk mail on a daily basis without ever giving our permission to have our personal information sold. Killing trees and requiring a prospective client to sit down, call a number, listen to an annoying, circular phone directory, then finally being forced to recite our name, address, customer ID, catalog ID, city, state, zip, AND reason for requesting deletion from their list is legal and accepted. While a simple environmentally friendly email that takes 2 seconds, if that, to delete is such an evil do-0er. I firmly support spam with open arms. Maybe then my mail carrier will not have to break his back walking through ice and sleet to deliver an ugly catalog for dog toys when I don't even have a dog.

bird




msg:556574
 7:35 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

the EU directive I think you are talking about.

This directive comes into play after the addresses have been aquired. It talks about specific addresses that the consumer has given the business on his own will. It does NOT talk about businesses aquiring new or additional e-mail addresses of existing customers from third party sources, which is the core issue in the DMAs document.

The privacy issues involved are really independent of the medium, and would in most cases apply to other address forms as well. This type of consumer protection has a long tradition in Europe, but is almost unknown in the US.

The fundamental idea is that a business is only allowed to collect information about their individual customers on a "need to know" basis. If I have asked the business to send me a postal package, then they usually don't need to know my e-mail address. If I requested them to send me information per e-mail, then they don't need my phone number, etc. To illustrate: If a web site eg. in Germany offers the possibility for me to subscribe to an e-mail newsletter, then it is illegal for them to also request my full name (or any other personal data) in the same form, since they don't need that for sending their newsletter. A surprising number of businesses have been sued and convicted for this specific violation among others.

The concept is called "Datensparsamkeit" ("data austerity" or "economical data handling"). I can't find a specific EU directive about it (the site of the European Commission is a bloody mess), but it has been implemented in most european countries for a long time in various forms and shapes. I don't think that what the DMA calls Address Appending would fly anywhere around here.

cyril kearney




msg:556575
 8:25 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

bird,
That seems pretty clear. A company may only collect the data needed to complete a transaction.

Now if you bought something over the Internet that required postal delivery. Then a company could be legally able to have both your email and postal mail address. They would not usually have the right to ask for or collect your phone number or fax number.

So the burden of the law is at the collection point.

Does that mean, that email appending is legal as long as the addresses were collected legally?

lorax




msg:556576
 8:45 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> Maybe then my mail carrier will not have to break his back walking through ice and sleet to deliver an ugly catalog for dog toys when I don't even have a dog.

LOL - true.

I applaud the council though I have to wonder how much weight they will carry/apply. It almost sounds like the International Whaling Commission which formed back when folks realized the great whales were dissappearing. They only reason the IWC exists is to figure out just how many whales each country can kill without being on the receiving end of the public's ire. But... we'll see what they come up with.

Crazy_Fool




msg:556577
 9:05 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> I firmly support spam with open arms.

good. i'll set my anti-spam filters to bouce all the crap i get to your mailbox.

Crazy_Fool




msg:556578
 9:13 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Does that mean, that email appending is legal as long as the
>>addresses were collected legally?

it's perfectly legal to fart in public, but it's rarely pleasant for those around you and not always welcomed by them.

and back to your spamming, it's not always legal to send spam, and it's not always legal to sell lists of email addresses. if you buy email addresses (through whatever methods) and those email addresses are sold to you without the email address owner's permission, then you are just as guilty as the person that sold you them in bad faith.

bird




msg:556579
 9:23 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

So the burden of the law is at the collection point.

Does that mean, that email appending is legal as long as the addresses were collected legally?

I'm not a lawyer, so now that we're getting to the fine print, my interpretation may or may not be correct in every detail...

As I understand it, there are two sides to the issue:

One is the collection, and there the law is pretty clear that any personally identifiable information about a consumer may only be used for purposes that the individual has explicitly agreed to. So for the third party collector to sell his database to another business for the purpose of Address Appending, they would need to submit proof of that agreement to do so. This is independent of the fact whether that individual actually is their customer or they aquired the data some other way.

On the other side, there's the aquiring business. Obviously, if they have my name and shipping address, and need to urgently reach me for some reason related to that shipment, they can look up my phone number in the phone book and call me about it. That would be a very simple and probably legal case of appending information to my record in their database, since it may help to fulfil my order better and/or faster. But I doubt that they're allowed to do this for purely promotional purposes. After all, neither did I give them my number myself, nor could I consequentially give them permission to use it that way.

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