Making Permission Assumptions

Do you know Romer? He's just this guy, you know. As he points out over on his WordPress blog, he's been in the anti-spam field for the last decade, doing a little bit of everything. Most lately, he's an engineer for a major anti-spam product.

I just noticed a very insightful post from Romer, where he talks about a recent email he received from Kodak.

The email from Kodak was just a plain old opt-out message. It explained that Kodak wants you to receive exciting emails and as such, we've just assumed that you want those exciting emails, so you are now opted-in. If you don't like it -- click on the unsub link.

It's the opposite of a permission pass -- and it's a heck of an assumption. Romer's take on it: Now, I don’t mind companies with whom I’ve done business asking me for permission to share my personal data. In some instances, I’ve been more than happy to allow it. But to assume that I will allow it, to require me to actively tell them that I do not want this, and to “update” my “permission status” without getting my permission first, is presumptuous in the extreme.

So Kodak just grew that list, but they did it in a way where an engineer for a major anti-spam product just made a face when ending up on that list. That's ... not a position I would want to be in. Do you think that bodes well for your deliverability when your practices catch the eye of somebody who controls the keys to the inbox?

This is why I occasionally raise the red flag about the emails I receive...if I notice these things, I know the spam filterers notice them, too.
(Update: Another spam filterer blogged about this as well. Click here to read.)


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  2. I am particularly sensitive to this - I work in marketing and the question of opting-in is definitely a touchy subject - with bill c-28 being passed in Canada, I have made a very clear opt-in policy, not only because it is the law but I myself HATE being subscribed to something before being asked. My colleague from Email Security Matters blog regularly writes about iffy marketing techniques. You may like this one on a well-known bank using a third-party for email marketing - they end up being total spammers. And this is a bank - sigh


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