Yesterday, Ken Magill wrote about his experience with the Obama campaign’s open and unconfirmed marketing list. Ken, to see just how open the Obama subscription form was, subscribed using a valid email address but the name of Stupid Poopypants. As expected, mail to Ken from the Obama campaign was addressed to Stupid.
eROI uses this as an example of people who ruin their ROI by filling fake data into forms and ends their post by addressing Ken as follows:
I think that as someone that covers the industry and espouses the things that make us strong, tear us down, threaten our industry, and lift us up… you of all people should be helping us out and not hurting us.
I have known Ken for a while, and done a few interviews with him over the years. He has never pulled punches. Ever. It is not what he does. His job is pot-stirring. In this case he is stirring this pot by pointing out the poor subscription practices of the Obama campaign.
From my perspective, the problem is not that Ken gave the Obama campaign Stupid Poopypants as his name, the problem is that the Obama campaign is not doing any data verification. Ken did give the campaign a valid email address, but there was no reason he needed to do so. Anyone could have signed up Stupid Poopypants and put in Ken’s address.
Ken was pointing out the poor data collection process with this experiment and based on their post the point flew right over the heads of the folks at eROI. People are going to put fake data in forms online and there is not any way to stop them from doing this.
This process is much more a reflection on data collectors than on the individuals signing up. Senders and marketers online have spent a lot of time collecting information and sending marketing to people. At this point in time people do not want more marketing in their inbox, or on their phone, or in their postal box. they do not trust that a company will respect their opt-in preferences. So they provide false data. The subscriber does not trust the collector to respect the subscriber, and so the subscriber takes protective action against the collector.
If what eROI says is true, “data integrity is everything to our industry” then people collecting data should be prepared to actually spend a little effort to not let subscribers pollute their data. If eROI lets any moron on the internet put information in their form, and then expects the data to be good then I just have one question to ask eROI: Are you new to the Internet or something??
hat tip: Box of Meat
Followup posts: Data Integrity Part 2 and Yet More Data Verification