DJ Waldow wrote a post on explicit permission over on Mediapost. I think he hit on some interesting bits and wanted to comment on them. In order to comment on a Mediapost blog, you have to register.
I’ve thought about it before, but every time I start the process I get to the page asking for detailed demographic information and decide no. This time, I was inspired enough by DJ to get to the second page of the signup process. This requires me to identify what type of marketing I’m interested in and won’t let me past the page until I click something. I’m not interested in anything, so I close the webpage. I can always write my own blog post responding to DJ.
I return to my inbox to discover a welcome message from Mediapost. It seems I am now a member and will be receiving email and specials and all the stuff I didn’t want from them.
This isn’t unusual. There are tons of websites on the net that don’t require you to complete a signup process in order to be added to their database. One of the worst I experienced was 1-800-Pet-Meds. They added me to their database when I abandoned a cart (what I wanted required a prescription from them, whereas I could just go into my vet’s and pick it up, so I’ll just pay the vet’s prices). They added me to their mailing list and couldn’t unsubscribe me because I was not in their customer database. Everything was done with the magic order number, which I didn’t have because I never ordered with them. That was fun to sort out.
It’s a bad idea to add people who don’t complete the signup or purchase process to your mailing lists. If you’re worried about losing a potential customer, then you can send mail reminding them to complete the process (or purchase). If you’re very into customer service, you can ask them if they are interested in future specials from you: would you like to opt-in to our mailing list anyway? Or you can give them the opportunity to remove their information from your database.