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Is the list you're about to use really opt-in?

SPAM - an email message that is sent to multiple recipients who did not proactively give permission to receive that particular type of message.

The annoyance factor of SPAM cannot be ignored, the damage it can cause to your company or brand can be immeasurable. A message that you believe to be perfectly acceptable might be perceived by the recipient as being intensely annoying and if that recipient thinks you've SPAMMED him or her, then you probably have.

Most email lists on the UK market claim to be opt-in, which includes the list where the owners, after intense questioning, stated that the list was indeed opt-in by virtue that they hadn't opted out.

The simple process of collecting email addresses does not constitute an opt-in list. Where email addresses have been placed on a list without their owner's permission and in order to be removed they must take action to unsubscribe or cancel, the list is opt-out. Opt-out lists, although not illegal, perform less well than permission based lists and are correctly perceived as SPAM.

Opt-in lists are compiled of people who have actively requested to be added to the list. They have volunteered their email address and have given their explicit permission to be emailed with certain types of messages.

Whatever method is employed in the collection of the email addresses, be it on-line registration forms, tele-research, registration at fairs/exhibitions, subscription to newsletters, customer records or simply taken from a business card, permission is sought at the point of collection as to the type of message they are happy to receive and the frequency of such messages.

However, this permission does not last forever, the individual needs to be contacted at least every 3 months or they may forget they opted-in and your message will be perceived as SPAM. All email contact with the individual should contain a statement of origination and an easy unsubscribe mechanism.

Before you okay your next email campaign, make sure you're using an opt-in list.


For a link to the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Statutory Instrument 2003, No 2426, governing the practice of email marketing, click here.
For information on our E-Response opt-in Email-List, click here.
For information on our Freeloader opt-in Email-List, click here.

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