More bites at the apple?

This is bizarre.

If you're a registered, opted-in user of Peachtree, and you unsubscribe from their emails, you could end up receiving this:

Our records indicate that [redacted] may have been inadvertantly [sic] opted out of e-mail communications.

If you did request to be removed, please click here to re-confirm your opt-out status.

Uh, yeah, what? CAN-SPAM doesn't allow for any sort of "mail them again, make them opt-out again, and if they don't, that's affirmative consent" exemption.

Failure to respond is not the same thing as an opt-in.

When asking people, hey, do you really want to get our emails, it is 110% wrong to do so passively. By passively, I mean, when you tell people "take no action and we'll consider you opted-in." That's not best practice. That keeps your list full of spamtraps and people who don't want your mail. It builds no proof that people on your list actually want to be there. It logs nothing about proof of affirmative consent to address a blacklist or blocking issue.

But, you run into senders who complain about that. Oh noes, they say. My list will get smaller unless I assume everybody wants in, instead of requiring them to respond.

Yes, your list will be smaller, and it will be comprised only of people who actually want your email.

That's called respecting permission.

Are you sure it's broken?

This press release suggests that the "report spam" button (found in common email interfaces like AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) is broken.

Good senders (send mail people want, don't send unwanted mail, set clear expectations in regard to all aspects of email sending) get few "report spam" complaints.

Bad senders (who don't have permission, send too much, don't care about what their subscribers want, hide mailing expectations in privacy policies) get many "report spam" complaints.

There's a reason why ISPs measure based on this data. Because it works. Draw a line between "high complaints" and "low complaints" and you're accurately drawing a line between "wanted mail" and "unwanted mail."

Is it any surprise that ISPs leverage this data to paint an accurate picture of good mail versus bad mail, and decide mail delivery or rejection policies accordingly?

Q Interactive calls this a bug. I call it a feature.

e360 v. Comcast: EPIC FAIL

Mickey Chandler says: "EPIC FAIL."

Another blogger (I'm not going to help his Google-fu by linking) states that he "hates to say it," but that Comcast's motion "looks like a winner." Hates to say it? You've got somebody suing over what seems to be a whole bunch of unwanted emails, an ISP apply their reasonable and common standards to reject such mail, and you hate to say that Comcast is likely to prevail?

I don't know why he'd say that, and the post isn't insightful. I don't know if he's had grumpy interactions with Comcast customer service over TV woes in the past, or if he is against private sector restrictions on commercial messaging, or who knows what. At any point, does not compute.

By the way, just for the record: I work with many clients who have had issues delivering mail to Comcast over the past year or two. I'm not going to go into details, as I'm not keen on giving e360 free legal advice, but let's just say that, in my opinion, much of what e360 alleges about their experiences with Comcast doesn't match up with what I've personally observed with many other senders.

Forced Opt-in

Forcing somebody to opt-in, by making them check a box that says, "I agree to X" before you'll let them buy from you (or even register) is a bad idea. It's just plain lame. I've run into this a lot over the years -- and I am well aware of what happens. When you force people to opt-in, you drive them away from your site, or you drive them to enter fake data and dirty up your list. If they do put in the right info, that still doesn't mean they want those follow up emails from you, and they're going to report that mail as spam.

So why is Pizza Hut forcing people to opt-in? A lot of those users, probably more than thirty percent of them, just want to order a pizza. They don't want to sign up for additional emails. (I pulled that thirty percent number out of a hat, but only slightly. It's potentially on the low end.)

Think about it, o savvy sender: Do you really want to end up with a list where 30% of the people don't want to be on it? Do you like spam complaints and a poor sending reputation?

Call me strange, but I'd prefer to have a smaller list of just people who want to be on it. Seems like more of the mail would get delivered, and you'd end up with more orders than if you had a bigger list that got your mail blocked all the time.

Ken Magill Gets It!

The keys to email delivery success?

"It all comes down to four words: List hygiene and relevance." -- Ken Magill

Couldn't have said it better myself! Thanks, Ken.

Las Vegas Spam via China

I get a new one of these every couple of weeks. The from addresses and names vary; usually it has a random Gmail address on the from address. The name associated is something like "Nathan Singer" or "Jeff Strum" and seems to vary with each mailing.

The CAN-SPAM info suggests that these folks are supposedly reputable, maybe even a real company: Receptionist Solutions, LLC, 10161 Park Run Drive, Las Vegas NV 89145.

But the email is coming from, an IP address in China. If these guys are so reputable, why are they sending from an IP address in China? With a Gmail from address? With an unsubscribe link and some other domain (also hosted in China)?

Seriously, can somebody explain to me who in their right mind would buy a product from somebody who has such a complete lack of branding and transparency, to the point where they're seemingly not even complying with CAN-SPAM?

I called the number from the spam footer, to find out that it is a company called "Intelligent Office" and they are indeed sending the emails in question. Yuck.