You Gotta Fight!

"You gotta fight!
For your right!
To connnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnntact!"
-- Beastie Boys (sort of)

Regarding the ongoing saga of E360 versus the Entire Universe, it looks like E360 has put out a press release explaining that they plan to soldier on.

The subheading ("E360 Continues To Fight For Its Rights To Communicate With Its Customers") and a lot of the subsequent exposition make mention of E360's customers and how the world is interfering with their ability to email their customers.

Wait a minute. All the people receiving this mail, they're customers? There has been paid consideration given, in either direction? These people all purchased something from E360 directly?

From what little I can tell, that doesn't seem to be the case. I don't know how E360 compiles their lists, but I can theorize, based on what I've read and what I know about the industry. I do know that people who are mailing direct customers tend not to have to issues sending to Comcast. I also know that others who seem to be in the same space as E360 tend to buy their lists from a co-registration broker or through co-registration partnerships.

Co-registration is basically another term for list selling. A user signs for some free magazine or online content, and the privacy policy or terms and conditions contains a clause that says it's OK for the data collector to sell your data to whomever they want. And that's exactly what happens. Sometimes it's a bit more restrictive, but the vast majority of the time, multiple companies can and do buy these lists and send to them.

Again, I don't know if this is how E360 does it. But everybody I've run into who runs a "big offer engine" seems to do it this way.

In that scenario, if you buy that list, and you mail to it, those people are not your customers. Those recipients don't even know who you are. They don't recognize your mail, they didn't sign up with you directly, and they hit the "this is spam" button every time they see your mail.

I have a theory as to why that is: Because it's spam. And not by my definition alone; every internet service provider I can think of would call this spam, as would most email service providers.