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 ChangeTheWorld.com, was testing out a solution to this problem, we gave him a call.
Crosson, who advises such clients as Wine.com, 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.)
AFFIDAVIT OF PERFORMANCE GUARANTEE OF NO-S*PAM POLICY ADHERENCE
ChangeTheWorld.com 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 ChangeTheWorld.com 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:
The views and opinions expressed in the articles of this website are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect in any way the views of MarketingSherpa, its affiliates, or its employees.