by Mike Masnick

Is Opt-In Permanent?

from the perishable-commodity dept

Lazy email marketers (of the legitimate kind) often seem to think that just getting someone's email address is the most important part of the relationship, and once they have that, they can bombard them with email forever. However, this is one of the reasons why many people are considering email lists they've signed up for as spam. This article points out that permission to receive email marketing messages is a "perishable commodity" and permission should be renewed fairly often. To most (lazy) marketers, the idea seems awful: why would they ever want to make it extra easy for someone to opt-out? However, for those who continue to opt-in, they're obviously much more loyal. Of course, the article doesn't quite explain how this process works. If someone is forced to keep "opting-in", they could get annoyed as well ("I've already opted in! Stop asking me!"). The easiest thing is to at least give the user options to adjust what they're getting and how often. Update: Interesting timing... just a little while after posting this story, I happened to open up an email folder of emails I've subscribed to, but never read any more. I almost never look at the emails in there. However, the latest one had the subject "Good-bye, farewell, and amen," and was from CNET. The message reads: "We have noticed it's been a while since you last clicked within this newsletter, and wanted to make sure you'd like to continue receiving it. We know that unwanted e-mail can be a real headache, so if you still want to continue to receive this e-mail, please click on the link below." I'm quite impressed. It fits perfectly with what I wrote above. They are asking for permission again, but they're doing it in a smart way - they're only doing it because they've noticed I never click on links in that particular newsletter, and they're then assuming that I'm opting out, unless I take specific action to opt-in.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2004 @ 4:12am

    No Subject Given

    I had the same thing on some CNET newsletters a couple of years ago.
    On one, I didn't want to get the newsletter but hadn't got around to unsubscribing so it gave me an easy way to do that (I just didn't click on the link).
    The other one was a newsletter that was interesting but I wasn't reading it regularly - the "Do you really want this" email caused me to look again at the newsletter (to see if I wanted it) and my click-through rate increased dramatically.
    I'm sure both of these actions helped CNET tailor their advertising for me (more valuable for them) and also reminded me about an information source that I'd missed (good for me)
    I hope more companies copy their idea!

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

  • identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, 19 Mar 2004 @ 7:52am

    it may also be good for business

    Advertisers may be willing to pay more to advertise on sites with this policy, knowing that the newsletters are not only going to addresses that are still valid but that they are actually being read.

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

  • identicon
    Marty, 19 Mar 2004 @ 10:45am

    Opt-out for email lists

    Most email lists I've been on have an easy opt-out link at the bottom, saying something like "Don't wish to continue receiving this? Click here". Is it really that hard for people to do this, or have I just been lucky with the lists I'm on? It seems like if you request to be on a list, it's only fair to let them know if you're no longer interested. Not that I don't think CNET's method is better, but it means they are keeping track of what links you click on, which may or may not be something people want.

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

    • identicon
      thecaptain, 19 Mar 2004 @ 11:54am

      Re: Opt-out for email lists

      You've been lucky.

      While most non-commercial (and a few commercial) lists are cool. I've been on a few commercial ones that totally ignore my request for opting out after opting in.
      That made them lose my business in a hurry.

      Even better, many treat my opt-out choice as time-limited. Doesn't Yahoo do this? You have to opt-out every 3-4 months or something?

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

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