Yesterday I blogged about eROIs contention that consumers should not be wasting the time of lead gen companies by filling in fake data. There were lots of good comments on the post, and I strongly encourage you to go read them if you are interested in different perspectives on the data issue.
One of the arguments I was making is that people are only going to give accurate information if they trust the website that is collecting information. I do, strongly, believe this. I also believe very strongly that websites collecting information need to do so defensively. It is the only way you can get good information.
This ties in with an earlier post about a website that collects email addresses from any visitor, then turns around and submits those addresses to webforms. Hundreds of mailing lists have already been corrupted by this group. They are a prime reason companies must design address collection process defensively. There are people who do bad things, who will take an opportunity to harass senders and recipients. This company is not the first, nor will they be the last to commit such abuses.
Taking a stand against abusive companies and people may be useful, but that will not stop the abuse. It is much easier to design process that limits the amount of abuse. For lead gen, in particular, confirmed opt-in is one way to limit the amount of bad data collected. As a side effect, it also results in less blocked mail, fewer complaints and better delivery.