Delivery news April 2009

Penton Media’s Marketing Practices
Ken Magill responds to critics of Penton’s email marketing practices in an article out today. His article is quite open and points out that some of the things Penton does are not good.

A couple answers weren’t pretty. For one thing, I found out we don’t have a permission box asking people if they want to receive third party ads. We simply start sending the ads. Not good.
But I also found out that our e-mail file is the heart of our business. Among other things, it drives ad revenue outside the newsletters and Webinar traffic. Space ads in the newsletters and on the Web sites don’t drive enough revenue to keep our business afloat.
However, I also found out readers can opt out of the third party ads—though I hope they won’t—and still receive the newsletters to which they are subscribed.

The issues surrounding how to support a company while not throwing so much ad copy in the face of readers is something that many, many businesses are struggling with. Having a company the size and influence of Penton Media acknowledge the challenges and why they made some of the decisions they made is both refreshing and enlightening.
California state law not preempted by CAN SPAM
Venkat posts about a case in California (Asis Internet Servs. v. Consumerbargaingiveaways, LLC, et al., N.D. Cal. Case No. 08-04856 WHA) where the judge ruled that Asis did have standing to bring a spam claim against Consumerbargains and that the CA law was not preempted by CAN SPAM in this case. Based on my reading, this may be a successful case in that the Plaintiff’s have paying customers and can demonstrate the costs associated with blocking spam. Furthermore, the mail in question seems to be recognizable as spam rather than a forgotton submission.
Canada proposes anti-spam legislation
Others are following the new Canadian anti-spam legislation in detail but this is a bill that bears watching. Unlike CAN SPAM, this bill actually prohibits unsolicited email marketing. It also allows private right of action by individuals and internet service providers, bans the “unwanted installation of computer programs in the course of commercial activity” and limits claims that can be made online. Matt Vernhout has a comprehensive summary of the email portions of the bill.


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