So, I’ve exchanged a few emails with Republican & Conservative Publishers since the posting of, “Are Republicans Spamming or just Stupid Emailers?” 

The emails from the Publishers are all pretty much on the same theme:

  • We don’t sell or share our lists;
  • Advertisers often buy banner placement and email marketing bundles;
  • Advertisers often buy from multiple Web sites

And one of my favorites:

  • Advertisers should know that their target audience often subscribes to multiple sites within the same theme.

So it’s the Advertisers fault….  Or is it the Publisher’s fault?  Come on, guys;  Merge/Purge is Direct Mailing 101….

While I’m sure that the Publisher’s considered their subscribers – “how many have I got and how much can I get?” – they aren’t being very considerate of their subscribers because they know that their subscribers “often subscribe to multiple sites within the same theme”…. 

Actually, it’s the fault of both and is no way to create long-term relationships with people….  As Joe Rospars has said, “the point is to actually have relationships with people so they open the message, they listen to what you’re saying, and they’re willing to do something“. 

So hows does one apply the Merge/Purge principle in the email world without sharing lists?  It’s not as hard as you might think….

There is a really really simple way that not only will Advertisers not actively promote the impression of them by recipients as spammers – aided by Publishers anxious to take their advertising money – they can maintain a certain level of CAN-SPAM compliance while making their opt-outs portable.  A three-fer…. 

For the sake of argument, assume that everything forward is based on encrypted data.

It all starts with a little service called, UnsubCentral.  And since they are the only service of their type that is Bonded, I don’t see a problem with solely endorsing them….  For those that don’t know who UnsubCentral is, you can read about them on their Web site, but basically they provide a service that allows Publishers to scrub their distribution list against the Advertiser’s opt-out list for CAN-SPAM compliance.

The way it basically works is the Publisher uploads their distribution list to the Advertiser’s account on UnsubCentral, and then downloads that list with the Advertiser’s opt-outs removed.  To expand this principle to remove duplicate recipients across multiple Publishers, the Publishers will have to somehow be prioritized with one going first, second, and so forth. 

The first Publisher uploads their distribution list to UnsubCentral for a specific campaign.  The Publisher receives their distribution list back less the advertiser’s subscribers and opt-outs. 

unsubcentral_publishers_01UnsubCentral “holds” that first Publisher’s list for the particular campaign, and when the second Publisher uploads their distribution list to be scrubbed of advertiser subscribers and opt-outs, it’s also scrubbed of the first Publisher’s distribution list before being returned. 

This process cascades through all of the Publishers selected to run the Advertiser’s promotion.

I’m sure that some Publishers would whine about their half-million record list dwindling down to 100k after being third on the priority list, but that should incentivize them to step up their game to get higher on the priority list.  On the other hand, the Advertiser should be ecstatic that they aren’t paying to reach the same recipient 4 & 5 times while suffering the unintended consequence of being thought of as a spammer by that same recipient that they paid for 5 times….

I’m sure that there are other ways of accomplishing the same results, and if there are tools dedicated to this process, I’d like to hear about them.  And if there aren’t….  could be an interesting niche opportunity….