Monday, December 1, 2008

Keep Out!!! Consumer Privacy

We’ve been over the fact that e-mail marketing is still huge – by most accounts the largest source of electronic marketing messages. One of the major obstacles facing e-mail marketing is consumer privacy. Who likes Spam, afterall?

Consumers are protecting their electronic privacy now more than ever. Some ways that consumers are making their online habits more opaque include having multiple e-mail accounts, rejecting cookies, filtering spam, utilizing anonymizer or other similar technology, and activating fraud detectors. An October 2007 study by Habeas and Ipsos revealed:

· 73%: Survey participants use e-mail daily
· 62%: Concerned about becoming victims of fraud or cybercrime
· 60%: Say spam is becoming worse
· 83%: Say their e-mail client's user interface has a spam button
· 23%: Say their e-mail service has fraud detection
· 64%: Say permission/personal e-mail regularly get routed to the spam folder or blocked

These numbers are concrete proof that consumers want to keep out the unwanted messages. According to the Consumer Privacy Guide, “Currently there is no national law to protect the privacy of the information you share online, federal law and state law do offer some protection to various kinds of personal information collected about you … information maintained about you in the health care system, your education records, the record of your video rentals, to name a few.”

Since there is not a strict legal outline for marketers to follow, it is important to adhere to best practices to maintain a level of credibility. Sometimes, by acting in a questionable manner, e-mail marketers can do more damage than a lawsuit can carry such as damage to brand credibility, loss of trust, poor response rates, and waves of unsubscribe requests. The key here, is the opt-in involving proper notice and consent. By acting in an ethical manner, marketers ensure that their messages will be received in the best possible light by consumers.

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