February 12, 2002 Volume 1 Issue 36
Opt-in, opt-out, and spam
"We apologize for any email you may have inadvertently received. Please enter your email into the following box to prohibit you from receiving any future emails."
You have undoubtedly read a similar message when asking to get off an E-mail list. Maybe one you signed in for, and now have a change of heart. Maybe one that came to you because of something else you responded to. Still, now you wanted off.
Because I enjoy receiving E-zines, feel the opt-in process is important, yet, way, way overplayed, recently I took a little time to get myself removed from several lists. To see what would happen. And found several most interesting options, follow-up messages and other types of responses.
And then there are guys like Removeyou.com -- "the world's largest interactive global email removal service". They claimed there had been "7,985,157,234 individual e-mail addresses that have been filtered by this system" on the day I first went to their site.
They included a "How does it work?" box. The Removeyou.com mission. A thanks paragraph to the ISP's involved with the project. And they have a created an Internet Community - where they offer other services. Including banner ads on selected networks.
Yet, it appears this is a good idea and attempt gone toothless. Some think it's great, some think it's terrible, and others are in between. Because these guys are (or were ... they are out of business) SPAMMERs.
Let me explain. What I don't recall is how I found these folks in the first place. It was obviously from something I decided to run away from. I "clicked" the unsubscribe link, used there FREE service and moved on.
Several sites say the service is FREE. If it was anything else it would not be used ... so I'm not sure that line has much value. Yet, the word FREE is the world's most popular word, so just maybe. And also just maybe I caused myself more problems than I thought I'd solved.
Later I'll come back here. For now, let's move on. pmgsender was another where I went to get out. Here is their response;
"You have been unsubscribed from our list. We would like to
The "gifts" are a 35MM Meikai Camera, a 10-pc Shappu Knive Set, a Genuine Emerald Necklace and Sportsman Binoculars. Each product description includes the S&H price (from $4.97 to $9.91) and a full web page link, where you go to place your order.
Although I did not buy, this is certainly an innovative way to close out a relationship - with a sales pitch. Would be interesting to know their results;
The quote that began this article ends their opt-out message with these interesting words;
"Please do not waste your time entering anything other than your
WebMaster Bill Blinn has taught me a lot about SPAM. Bill becomes truly livid with his vivid descriptions of those that dump unwanted E-mail into your E-box, mine ... and his. Bill says many offer an opt-out option only because they think it makes them look legitimate. In fact, Bill believes most SPAMMERs use your response to update their lists!
In preparing this article, I received several big time contributions from Bill. Here are excerpts from several of our back / forth dialogue;
"When I receive an e-mail offer, I run it through an analyzer program. The program tells me where the mail actually came from. If the 'from' address (easy to forge) and the origin are the same, then I consider the mail to be somewhat legitimate. But the VAST majority of these messages actually originate on 'open relays' in China, Russia, or here in the US (often at colleges and universities and at least once from the Pentagon). What that tells me is this: The person sending the mail has ethics that allow him to STEAL 'sendmail' services and then LIE about it.
"For example ... one message contains a 'remove' address at Excite, a free service that will quickly cancel the account -- but not before the spammer harvests the addresses of more gullible people. In other words, this is NOT the kind of person I want to do business with. By replying, an unsuspecting person will simply indicate that he has read the SPAM in its entirety and that his e-mail address is valid.
"There are those who say SPAM is 'free'. Well, it isn't. Who do you think pays for the stolen services, the additional bandwidth required to carry the crud, and the server farms needed to store it. That's right -- you and I pay for it every month when we pay our ISP!"
Back to my personal experiences. Last fall, while re-financing, I talked to a group named Arizona Mortgage. They offered an Opt-In Newsletter and I signed up. After making my final decision, I decided to Opt-Out ... did not need their news any longer.
Here is their option paragraph;
Well, it did not happen. So, next time I did it again. After their next mailing. And I did it again. Stopped counting after 3 times ... now I just delete their E-mail as soon as it visits my mailbox.
TechnoScout is a E-commerce site, offering specials on high end name brand products. Several Panasonic products, including a DVD Camcorder, Player, Recorder, a virtual theater i-glass screen, plus an Emerson Home Theater System. And more. Not sure how they found me ... I am the wrong marketplace - and elected to UN-subscribe
The December screen that confirmed I was gone made one more pitch;
"If you want to see hundreds more great gifts, simply come
A year ago I established a relationship with ThinkDirectMarketing.com - and then broke off during the summer. It wasn't working - we decided to go different directions. Yet, they chased again ... and frankly, this time I was surprised.
They began an announcement page - thought I'd be interested. I was not / am not / will not be. So, I clicked unsubscribe - and received immediately two messages. The first said "You have been unsubscribed ... you can resubscribe to ... You may also email the ThinkDirectMarketing administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org".
This was followed by an E-mail that confirmed I was gone. And offered a "hot link" to their web site, if I wished to join again. Plus, again, the option to contact their administrator by E-mail.
A number of sites do this - send a confirming E-mail. My guess is it makes them feel better. For me it is another E-mail I do not need to see. If they'll just do what they say and take me off the list, that is good enough.
"Welcome to www.peopleofasia.com Travel service and Mega Mall ..." is the opening line. It is a hotel reservation site, handling bookings around the world. In such countries as Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Korea, India ... and outside Asia, in the United Kingdom, Australia. Elsewhere I'm certain
Not sure how they found me - I have traveled in and out of every Asia country on a regular schedule for two decades. Maybe they picked me up off one of those visits. Yet, no matter, currently I am not interested in their offering. And opted-out. They respected my request.
Ditto GloTagImprints! An ad specialty distribution company. Since we buy such things for our own use and for clients, we got on their E-zine list. There opt-out line goes like this;
"If you think you have received this email in error, we apologize!!!
I especially like the smiley close. And find this method of opt-out best. A simple reply to their E-mail, type REMOVE, and move on.
ArcaMax has a number of E-zines I do like. In fact, I had opted in for 5 titles. They share interesting notes about a wide range of topics. And have a great range of interesting product offers, too.
Yet, one of the E-zines was not for me. I wanted out. They gave me options to eliminate all of them, or any selected. I "ticked" the offensive title, and it was gone. These folks do a nice job.
On the other side Pulsetv.com has not done what they've said. Their unsubscribe message is this;
"To stop getting email offers from PulseTV.com please
They are another making a going away offer;
"Please choose one of the below items as a parting gift - FREE!
All which would be AOK if they in fact did take you off the list. So far for me it's been more like 30 days, vs. their statement of two.
The last example is from email@example.com Forgetting the problems of Excite - the Opt In/Opt Out is very thorough.
They take a whole page and 3 paragraphs of copy stating their privacy as well as the in/out policy. And close with this;
"PLEASE CLICK ONE TIME ONLY
If you wish to be removed, please type in your email
The only "funny" part of this is the box is not "above"... it is "below".
Well, you get the idea. The best users of E-mail marketing do what they say. Including this site. It is the "other guys" who play games, and cause the rest of us problems.
If you've stories on Opt-In / Opt-Out and want to share them, send me an E-mail@ Ray@RayJutkins.com and you can read Bill's take on spam at http://wtvn.blinn.com/nukespammers.html.
The National Mail Order Association is run by friend John Shulte.
I asked John to write for this E-zine ... he responded with a pair of articles.
This is the second. To learn more about NMOA and John visit Hub of Direct Marketing http://www.nmoa.org/ or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to "talk" with him.
Because I come up with so many successful promotional ideas, some people call me a marketing genius. But I'm not a genius (well maybe), I just have the experience using a special system that utilizes the genius of others.
My method works for all areas and types of businesses, whether it's home based, retail, mail order, or manufacturing. I take the best of other's ideas, then bend and fit them to my needs. I call it the art of relating and assimilating. You start by staying alert to what's going on "out there" promotional-wise. Be on the constant outlook for ideas, look at other companies advertising and promotions. Look through newspapers and magazines, get on mailing lists of other companies and monitor what they send you. When you watch TV, pay attention to the commercials. Keep your eye out when shopping. Study your competition's promotions. When you see something that really grabs your attention, save it in a file or write it down. Then you take the ideas you find really interesting and apply them to your business situation. I'll give you a couple of examples! A few years back I was the advertising and marketing director of a wedding shop. Being a retail store, one of my main concerns was to develop store traffic. Our main form of advertising was a monthly direct mail package sent to newly-engaged women. (Before I go further I want to point out that the recipient was the bride, not the groom. When planning a wedding the bride makes most of the decisions. Make sure your message gets in front of the decision maker.) In that mailing I included a survey for the bride to fill out and bring to our store. When they brought the completed survey to our store they were allowed a chance to draw a prize from our wedding chest, the chest was filled with a variety of prizes written on folded paper and valued between a dollar and fifty dollars. It was a very successful ongoing promotion.
Now, I got the chest idea from a company exhibiting in a trade show. Except they had it set up as a pirates' treasure chest. They mailed me a letter telling me about the trade show, with an invitation to visit their booth, and a key that might open the lock on the treasure chest. If I visited their booth, I got a chance to see if the key they sent me would open the lock on the chest; if it did, I could draw for a prize out of the treasure chest. Now what I did was to take a similar chest and paint it white to fit the wedding chest theme. I dropped the key part because I wanted everyone to win a prize if they filled out the survey and came to our store, plus I didn't want to buy a bunch of keys. Requiring the bride to fill out the survey before being able to draw for a prize gave me valuable marketing information to use in my job. It also made the chance to draw a prize seem more valuable because they had to work for it. Another plus was that I worded the survey in such a way to be a subliminal sales message. Another promotion I used in this company was... Gown-Of-The-Month. I think you know how I came up with that one. The nifty modification I made to this idea is that I wanted to send a full color glossy picture of the gown to the brides, but since the gown changed every month this would be very expensive to print each month, too expensive for our small company. Then, as I was looking through a bridal magazine one day I thought to myself, hey... almost every bride picks up one of these magazines or subscribes to it, why don't I pick one of the gowns featured in the magazine that has a full page color picture to be Gown-Of-The-Month. Then when I do the monthly mailing to the brides I can refer them to the magazine, right to the page that the gown is featured on. Then we elaborated on the special features and the particular beauty of that gown in our letter. We also offered a special discount on that grown ... for that month, and also included an invitation to come try it on without obligation. This became another smashing success just by modifying a successful idea used to sell books into a way of selling bridal gowns. This promotion also had an extra bonus; a large percentage of the brides that didn't buy that particular grown ... ended up buying another. You can use this technique for any type of marketing or promotional endeavor. Even designing business cards, letterhead, or retail (POP) store displays. Take the best from everybody, modify it to fit your needs, add creative use of your resources where needed, and you will come up with a style all your own. Try this out today with your business. The more you practice the better you get at it. Don't forget to write down every idea you get. Have a paper and pen by your bed. Carry a pocket pad or recorder with you at all times. I guarantee the minute you think of a great idea (that sudden inspiration) and you don't write it down because you think you'll remember it, you will forget it.
Ray on the RAYdio
Recently I enjoyed the opportunity to do a "live "WebCast radio program from Orlando, Florida.
The event was Corporate University Week - sponsored by HRevents. My client, Quest Consulting & Training Corporation, out of southern California, hosted me from their exhibit booth. Where for 5 hours a day we brought news and stories from the conference to the world. The program was full of interviews with keynoters, seminar leaders, exhibitors and attendees - 25 people over 2 days.
If your world includes Human Resource Development, as well as Marketing, you may find listening to pieces of the nearly 10 hours of archived material worthwhile. Visit http://www.knowledge-bytes.com/ for the full story and complete WebCast schedule. And "click" on those interviews most interesting to you.
As we get close to that most marvelous of days - Valentine's - let's see if we can find something from the heart. For this weeks Anonymous thought.
By the way, Valentine's is celebrated in most of the world. Some places more than others - yet almost everyone has such a "day". And because flowers generally and roses expressly are a part of this grand day - an Anonymous "rose" thought;
"You can complain that rose bushes have thorns ...
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.