Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(March 2000)
 

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Subject: Re: A lesson about verifying transferred lists
From: Vince Sabio <vince @ vjs . org>
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 03:22:40 -0500
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <200002291636 . LAA23582 @ tor-srs1 . netcom . ca>
References: <200002291636 . LAA23582 @ tor-srs1 . netcom . ca>

** Sometime around 11:37 -0500 02/29/2000, Sharon Tucci sent us:

Just to provide another opinion/data point here ...

We
received one complaint direct to us from someone who, when we
questioned it, said they didn't recognize the list address.
(Given that the list was moved to our service, the list address
would have obviously changed.)

The welcome message provided removal information and about 2%
unsubscribed.

Because of the high unsubscribe rate and the complaint,

WHAT???

First of all, 2% is not at all a "high unsubscribe rate," especially for a list that has been dormant for a couple of months. I'd expect the unsubscribe rate to be higher than that.

And ONE complaint out of 4000? And you even pointed out yourself that the subscriber was probably confused by the domain change.

we went
back to the client and said the only way we could handle their
list was if everyone was required to opt-in once again.

I believe you overreacted, though there's certainly no harm in it. At least, not at this point ...

Client agreed - saying that they want to make sure that the list is
clean and 100% opt-in.

This client is more forgiving than most.

We did the two step with 20000 additional subscribers. Each
person received one email telling them that the list was being
moved to our service and that we required people to confirm
their subscription... so in order to receive future messages,
they would need to hit reply to the verification message.

Here's where the fun starts. Of the 20,000, again, the
number of bounces was normal - what we had expected. However,
we've received three spam complaints in less than 24 hours.
So, in total, we've received more spam complaints from about
24,000 recipients than we normally do in 6 months across
hundreds of new lists.

This is, as Dave pointed out, totally insignificant. I run a large mailing list with a confirmation loop, and I *still* routinely (well, a coupla times a year) receive "complaints" from people who claim that I am spamming them. My guess is, most often it's a child or a sibling or even a friend who has access to the mailbox and does the subscribing -- possibly as a joke -- and the poor clueless mailbox owner then starts receiving what he thinks is spam. Many seem to be too daft to figure out the unsubscription instructions that are included in the footer of EVERY message (most probably don't read down that far), and it's easier to simply reply and tell me that I'm spamming them.

I have a form letter I send them which includes unsubscription instructions; I rarely hear from them again.

Three such complaints on a newly-moved list out of more than 18,000 delivered e-mails isn't even worth noting, Sharon.

The problem is what do we do about this?

Move his list. If it helps you sleep at night, require everyone to re-up to the list. But I think even that is an overreaction. The numbers you've quoted are really pretty good.

to handle the re-opt-in process themselves. But my gut won't
let me advise this because I really do think that the list
has been seeded with email addresses who haven't opted in.

I think your complaint rate would be MUCH higher if that were the case.

FWIW, we had two other situations where lists provided
by other list hosting services had addresses on the list
that shouldn't have been there. With both situations, it
was a single email address that should have been removed
that wasn't.

Sharon, no list of any reasonable size will be 100%. As I said, even confirmation loops aren't perfect; if someone else has access to the mailbox, then all bets are off.


__________________________________________________________________________
Vince Sabio                     Got Bounces? <http://www.smartbounce.com/>
vince @
vjs .
org                     Got Jokes? <http://www.humournet.com/>
                                   Got Spam? <http://www.cauce.org/>

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