Friday, February 3, 2012

Cool Technology of the Week

I recently wrote about the explosion of business spam.

One of my blog commenters introduced me to which provides a free, timesaving, easy to use unsubscribe utility.

Numerous times a day, I click on an email scroll to the unsubscribe area, have to figure out the proprietary unsubscribe functionality of the business spammer, retype my email address, and hope it works since unsubscribe sites are generally slow and unreliable.

With, I just download a plug in for my email client (apple mail), and simply click on the unsubscribe icon whenever unwanted email appears in my inbox.   The unsubscribe servers use natural language processing to figure out the unsubscribe methodology and send the unsubscribe request.

It has easily saved me 15 minutes a day.

Of course the ultimate answer would be for advertisers to act more ethically.   I had a great conversation with Dave Smith, Compliance Officer for Constant Contact about their efforts to enforce email advertising best practices.    A few items

1.  They ask their clients to certify pre-existing business relationships or opt-in before sending email.   Some clients do not follow this policy guidance the Constant Contact compliance team does their best to identify and stop abuses by their customers.

2.  They created "Safe Unsubscribe" to make it easier for recipients to remove themselves from mailing lists.   It really works - Safe Unsubscribe does actually stop the flow of advertising.

3.  They will honor a  global "do not call" designation for all email newsletters if such a request is made to the compliance department.

My wife uses Constant Contact for her NKG Art Gallery Newsletter, so I'm not opting out of all communications just yet.   Only a small portion of my business spam comes from advertisers using Constant Contact - a tribute to their ethical marketing compliance efforts.

A utility to automatically unsubscribe and a company using a compliance team to reduce unwanted email.    That's cool!


Anonymous said...

What you do run into with ConstantContact is that they use shared IP addresses for their clients. If another CC user is spamming a large organization on the same IP as you it can lead to getting that IP blacklisted by the organization and create a major headache for the innocent CC users. That is why it is always best to invest in a platform that allows you to have a unique IP for your email marketing efforts.

It's a classic example of you get what you pay for.

Dave Smith @CTCT said...

@Anonymous: The age old debate surrounding shared IPs vs. a dedicated IP has been one that has filled many a blog post. Both have their pros and cons. While it is true, with a dedicated IP a business is able to control their own reputation (good or bad), the main beneficiaries generally tend to be larger volume mailers that are able to produce a clean and steady mail stream. Many small businesses and non-profits that have smaller contact lists and mail infrequently enjoy as good, if not better delivery success being pooled in a shared IP environment, primarily because their mail stream is not viewed as erratic by the ISPs.

Organizations that are able to keep their pool of shared IPs clean often have the same or higher inbox delivery rates. Yes, they must actively deal with the bad actors, but on the flip side, having a large population of great mailers can overshadow a few bad actors in the pool. Rarely will one organization cause a set of IPs to be blocked.

At the end of the day, deciding between shared vs. dedicated will depend on the volume and frequency of mail one will be sending, the type of business doing the marketing (e.g. financial institutions), and what type of mail they're going to be sending (B2B, B2C, etc.). What's right for one may not work for another.


James said...

John - thanks for the Cool Unsubscribe recommendation. I just added it to my Apple Mail and hopefully will be seeing fewer emails. And that would be fantastic!