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Jun 14, 2001

Trouble Ahead as Trade Magazines Prefer Opt-Out to Gather Email Rental "Permissions"

SUMMARY: If you rent email lists from trade, technology or business magazine publishers, you'll definitely want to read this short article.Turns out that while marketers who rent lists strongly prefer opt-in (or even "double opt-in") names, the magazines who gather the names may not be asking permission properly.
As a proponent of opt-in versus opt-out email name gathering, Tom Kraemer, CMP Media's Group Director of Customer Relationship Marketing, was very much the odd man out at this week's Circulation Management Conference & Expo in New York. Practically everyone else openly said they felt the world was moving toward opt-out as a standard. Which pretty much puts the trade magazine world completely at odds with most of the clients who rent names from them (not to mention new potential laws and ISP-approved activities.)

Opt-out is more profitable for the trades in the short run because they can gather more names quickly and fling them onto the still-hungry rental market. One show attendee told us, "Circulation people report to publishers who are from ad sales backgrounds and are really just short-term, bottom-line oriented. They got a taste of what email rentals could deliver and now they won't give circulation people the chance to be more ethical."

Deb Goldstein of IDG Lists, who is widely acknowledged to be the mother of the trade magazine email list rental industry, made her position clear in a recent posting on the AdMarketing email discussion group saying, "It is up to the Publication [at the name gathering point] to decide where they want to make it an opt-out or opt-in permission-based question. What is essential though, is that in the process, it is clear to the person that they are giving permission for third-party E-Mail. To me, that is how you define permission - is the person fully aware that you are asking."

In fact, many email marketers would agree with her and be very pleased to rent lists that gathered names using those precepts. Trouble is, many publishers hear "opt-out is ok" and ignore the part about "fully aware." While researching this article we randomly looked at the forms that gather email rental names for about a dozen trades published by prominent publishers. Only one mentioned the fact that our email address might be rented out. So, the practice of gathering and renting names without revealing you'll do so may be industry standard.

We smell a rental market backlash just waiting to happen.

Useful links related to this article

Circulation Management -

Ad Marketing Discussion Group

Want to learn more about the differences between opt-in and opt-out, or the legal and ISP-related dilemmas surrounding email lists? Check out our 21 page report, "Spam & Privacy Information for B-to-B Marketers"
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