More on Pizza Hut

Dylan at email service provider eROI points out that Pizza Hut's email sign up process is substandard: You have to opt-in to receive emails just to order a pizza online.

This is seemingly another sign of people who have ... interesting ... ideas about email best practices. Here's another FAQ question for my imaginary best practices FAQ.

Question: We want to grow our lists aggressively. Can we make people opt-in to receive emails from us when they register or make a purchase online?
Answer: You could, if you like pain. If you make people opt-in, you end up sending them emails they don't want. They report those emails as spam, and ISPs like Hotmail and Yahoo will come down on you like a ton of bricks.

Here's the deal. Recipients are looking to you to be a good list mom. Don't force people to get emails they don't want. Don't send emails people didn't explicitly sign up for. If you fail to be a good list mom, the ISP steps in and does it on your behalf. Look back to what I wrote in January: A sender started sending me extra emails. Made it hard to unsubscribe. What did I do? I marked the mail as spam, and appropriately so. If enough of us pebbles (recipients) vote that mail to be spam (and we often do), an ISP decides that the sender is not being a good list mom, and stops putting their email in the inbox.

This process is repeated thousands of times a day across hundreds of internet service providers.


  1. What about forced confirmed opt-in? Hah.

  2. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, I'm thankful for ISPs defending consumers from abusive spammers. If that happened to me, I'd stop going to Pizza Hut.

    Jeff Kempf, marketing intern at


Comments policy: Al is always right. Kidding, mostly. Be polite, and you're welcome to join in, even if it's a differing viewpoint.