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Opt-In Mailing Lists = Mostly SPAM
By: MarkJ - 18 November, 2003 (1:26 PM)

One in six of all SPAM messages received by UK Internet users are junk emails sent by businesses to consumers who have signed up to receive news and special offers:

Consumers slam opt-in marketing emails as 2nd Degree Spam research reveals anger over junk messages from businesses

51.8% of opt-in marketing emails are irrelevant and inappropriate, and are considered as ‘2nd Degree Spam’.

One in six of all spam messages received by UK Internet users are junk emails sent by businesses to consumers who have signed up to receive news and special offers.

These are the headline findings of a recent survey which questioned 500 consumers about their attitudes towards opt-in marketing email communications. The research, conducted by NCorp, a customer-profiling software specialist, found that:

- 7 out of ten consumers would have little hesitation in giving their business to another company if they were consistently sent 2nd Degree Spam after signing up to an electronic mailing list;

- 2 in 5 consumers feel 2nd Degree Spam is as annoying, if not more so, than double-glazing sales people; rising to 75.3% for TV adverts and 70.6% for junk mail received through the post;

- Only 20.2% of marketing emails contain content tailored to a recipient’s preferences and interests, yet 76.5% of consumers say they would respond more positively to personalised communications;

The high level of frustration felt by consumers over 2nd Degree Spam marketing emails is reflected by the fact that 96.5% of the survey respondents believe companies should have a duty of care to only send out marketing information and offers by email that they know will be relevant and of interest to the recipient.

Sending spam is completely socially unacceptable, whatever form it takes,” said Martin Blackburn, managing director of NCorp. “Consumers feel extremely let down when, after giving a company their permission to be emailed, they are consistently sent irrelevant and inappropriate content. It’s time the business community took the issue seriously and invested time and money ensuring all email communications and offers are relevant, timely and personalised.

The problem of 2nd Degree Spam is set to worsen, however, as new UK and EU legislation effectively bans unsolicited communications. Hardcore spammers will therefore seek to cover themselves by (ab)using opt-in mailing lists. This means honest businesses will have to work even harder to win over the trust and confidence of consumers or email marketing will become a totally ineffectual marketing tool in the very near future,” added Blackburn.


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