Time To Do Away With Sleazy Checkbox Opt-Outs

from the give-people-a-little-credit dept

We've all seen the practice of somewhat sleazy "opt-out" offerings on things. You sign up to buy something at an e-commerce site and you have to uncheck a box or you'll get bombarded by promotional emails for the rest of your life. However, Jeremy Wagstaff is pointing out one that's even more questionable. Apparently, on a Lenovo page for journalists, it includes two confusing checkboxes. The first says: "Please use e-mail to send me information about other offerings." The second says: "Please do not use this data to send me information about other offerings." They're checkboxes (not radio buttons), meaning that you can check none, one, the other or both... which raises some interesting questions. What happens if you check none or if you check both?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Bob, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 6:42pm

    omguh

    I'm pretty sure Lenovo's server boxes explode, as well as your computer. Don't try it at home kids.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 6:50pm

    Re: omguh

    Quite the contrary... if it will cause their sleazy computers to explode, kids, please try this at home... often....

     

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  3.  
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    Hmm, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 6:55pm

    I think

    It's probably not so much sleazy as just really incompetant HTML writing.

     

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  4.  
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    AsherMaximum, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 7:10pm

    Re: I think

    It was meant to be sleazy, but was ruined(ie, fixed) by lazy poor HTML.

     

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  5.  

    Becoming more noticeable

    Creative check-box building and marketing must be a new field as more and more sites I visit contain stupid choices.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Leroy, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 7:36pm

    Sleazy as this too

    When purchasing online from Tiger Direct, right after sending you a confirmation email, they send another right away that is titled to lead you to believe it is about your just made purchase and it is titled "...one more thing"

    the instructions appear at a glance to be a security feature, one last chance to confirm your purchase. But closer inspection reveals it is an opt-out for email spam from them. I fell for it twice, then finally stopped to read it fully the last time.

    It is designed in such a way as to trick people into opting into the email list. I did write to complain. Then had to battle for months to get off their catalog mailing list.

    They are teaching us they really do not want our business. You don't treat your customers with such a level of disrespect and survive. And all purchases are followed up by spam trying to sell you the extended warranty you didnt order in the first place.

    Leroy

     

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  7.  
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    Sceptical Cynic (profile), Oct 30th, 2007 @ 8:24pm

    They only do it because...

    it works. Same reason spam is sent. If you send 100 Million spam and just .1% buy and it costs you .0001 cents per spam then you do the math.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 8:47pm

    There's a fairly simple, and very effective, way of countering such sleazy practices. Sign up at spamgourmet. (google it.)

    You will get exactly as many return emails as you want. So, if you need to get 1 confirmation email, that's all you'll ever get from them.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 9:27pm

    Along the same lines, fuck Opt-Out all together. Why do we as consumers have to OPT OUT of telemarkers faxing or calling us? Why aren't things like that Opt-In only, as in "Yes please I'd like 50 junk faxes about Travel Cruises every Monday morning"?

     

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  10.  
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    Tallion, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 9:50pm

    Opt Out

    I use Line 2 of my address for a code and then jot it down in a spreadsheet. todays code would be 103007a. Surprisingly, i get very little junk mail with codes on it. Even from the magazine folks send very little (but they do send some).
    80% of all my junk mail is from local businesses who buy my data from the county. Corps who i do business with only get once chance to remove me. If there is a problem, a quick letter to the attorney general quickly resolves the issue. Just ask Quest, they got a letter just this week!

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 9:52pm

    "Along the same lines, fuck Opt-Out all together. Why do we as consumers have to OPT OUT of telemarkers faxing or calling us? Why aren't things like that Opt-In only, as in "Yes please I'd like 50 junk faxes about Travel Cruises every Monday morning"? "

    You could also ask the question; Why do we have to have scumbags breaking into our houses and stealing our stuff?

    The answer is; We shouldn't, but scumbags exist and that's why we have locks and guard dogs and guns.

    No amount of laws or appeals to reason are going to stop scumbags and that applies to thieves as well as spammers.

    Welcome to reality!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Oct 30th, 2007 @ 10:40pm

    It's nothing.

    I suspect that Lenovo isn't being sketchy. It just sounds like a web-page screw-up or, perhaps, a translation error.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Haywood, Oct 31st, 2007 @ 4:57am

    Re: No amount of laws or appeals to reason are goi

    That's because we have this misplaced idea of the value of human life. If we had a law that put a bounty on spammers. If too many survive the bounty isn't high enough, and could be adjusted. Next law, loud cellphone talkers.

     

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  14.  
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    Todd., Oct 31st, 2007 @ 5:12am

    You'd have to check both, if you check none, you are agreeing to get the emails.

     

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  15.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Oct 31st, 2007 @ 5:47am

    Software Vendors Do This Too

    After loading some software, I am sometimes presented with a screen where the opt-in box is "conveniently" checked. If I uncheck it I am presented with a dire warning that I will no longer receive "important" update information. This makes it sound that you must obtain the marketing spam in order to receive actual product update information. Even worse,I don't ever recall actually receiving an e-mail informing that a real product upgrade was available. Now, most programs have the ability to detect this automatically.

    Recently I updated my ATI video driver. During the installation process another program requested installation. To me this was a "junk" program so I declined. I was immediately presented with the confusing message that installation was "incomplete".

    Software companies must stop this practice of trying to "sneak" in the installation of "junk" software that the customer does not want. The message that ATI should have had "Your Driver download is complete, do you now want to install XXXXXX?"

     

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  16.  
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    losers, Oct 31st, 2007 @ 8:50am

    Please check here if you would like to avoid not getting email from us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2007 @ 10:37am

    The message below is true

    The message above is false

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2007 @ 12:15pm

    This seems a little ridiculous. Is this site about find web page design flaws?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Jake (profile), Oct 31st, 2007 @ 4:32pm

    I'm not sure if this ever was an issue, but it certainly is no longer an issue. I went to the alleged offending site and checked both boxes. I got the error message shown below. Did the blog writer actually check this before writing his entry or did Lenovo just recently fix this error? Better yet, did Techdirt.com check to if there really was a problem.



    -------------------------
    There was a problem with your submission. The following errors occurred:

    * You have checked both or neither privacy related checkbox. Please choose one or the other.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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