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Sep 26, 2002
How To

Worried About Renting Email Lists? Ask Your Broker to Sign a 'Affidavit of Performance'

SUMMARY: No summary available.
Increasingly we are hearing horror stories about honest marketers
who have tried renting lists they were assured were "guaranteed to
be opt-in" only to find themselves the victim of either a s*pam-
list in disguise, or a list so badly targeted or old that their
response rates are nil.

When we learned that interactive advertising consultant Mike
Crosson, President, was testing out a solution
to this problem, we gave him a call.

Crosson, who advises such clients as, Gigex and eCrush
on email list rentals, has made a habit of opting-in for any list
he plans to recommend a few weeks before he recommends it. Then
he watches that list to see who else they rent names to. (Very
smart idea.)

Which is how he learned that one list he was about to tell a
client to use this July was already being rented to a mailer with
p*orn offers. Which might not be so bad if it was an opt-in list
of people who wanted to get that sort of thing, and his client
was in that business. It was not and they were not.

"All it has to do is happen once, and that's the end of my
association with that provider," Crosson says. "I don't care if
they rent to p*orn people. What I object to is I joined that
list and then the p*orn people emailed me. That's not what I
opted in for."

He adds, "I've opted in to a lot of lists that market casinos. I
have no problem with those as long as a user I chose that
option." If he gets casino mailings on a non-casino-related
list, then warning bells go off.

In an effort to stop list salespeople from misrepresenting lists
to him, Crosson invented his own "Affidavit of Performance".
(You can see a copy of it below.)

The affidavit asks the list sales person to explain the source of
their names and whether they are opt-out, opt-in or double-opt-
in. Reps must sign their name under a statement that the names
have expressly opted-in, the names are less than six months old,
and the list does not include any unsubscribers.

"It's obviously more an intimidation factor than a legal
document," says Crosson. "Any good lawyer could go through and
rip it to shreds. That's not the point. The point is to get a
determination of people's confidence in their product and their
own ability to deliver on what they say when they claim they have
an opt-in list."

Yes, since he started requiring that reps sign the affidavit some
have walked away from deals rather than put their signature on a
it. "This is a helpful tool," Crosson says.

Here is a copy of the text from Crosson's Affidavit. (Naturally
he puts it on his letterhead and makes it look very professional.
Typos are ours.)

GUARANTEE OF NO-S*PAM POLICY ADHERENCE strictly adheres to responsible email
marketing policies. We do not engage in unsolicited emailing, nor
do we do business with email publishers or list owners whose
practices amount to s*pamming. Please complete the warranty below
to confirm that you and your company adhere to IAB advertising
standards and the DMA email marketing standards as established by
Regulation of the S*ale of Electronic Mail Addresses (AB 7045, SB 5090) http://www.the-dma-org/isec/#5

______________ warrants that the email list or lists it will be
using for its email campaign for is duly
qualified for that purpose. The recipients of all email addresses
concerned have each expressly opted in to receive email. None of
the recipients have subsequently attempted to unsubscribe of have
their name removed from the list or lists. If mailings are being
targeted to specific consumer interests, please indicate the
specific information here:

Email list(s) sources Opt-out/ Opt-in/ Special Interest
Double Opt-in (Alcohol, Smoking,
Registered User Adult, Gambling)
___________________ ______________ ________________
___________________ ______________ ________________
___________________ ______________ ________________
___________________ ______________ ________________

We hereby guarantee that we have made all best efforts to
maintain and update these databases on a regular basis, and that
all recipients have elected to receive emails within the last six


Agency: Title: Date:
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