List Firms Provide E-Mail Suppression Services Under CAN-SPAM

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Just more than a month after the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 took effect, list firms serving the e-mail market are offering e-mail suppression solutions to ensure compliance with the law's opt-out provision.


Under the law, marketers must provide opt-out links in their e-mail messages and maintain opt-out lists to be suppressed from future e-mailings. Names must be suppressed within 10 days of the consumer opting out, and opt-out links from e-mails must be active for at least 30 days.


Among the list companies offering help to marketers is List Services Corp. with its CAN-SPAM E-Mail Suppression File Compliance Service.


"It is a natural extension of what we do because we've been managing clients' data for over 20 years," said Stuart Kauder, vice president at List Services Corp., Bethel, CT, who was in charge of developing the service and oversees it.


Key features include an unsubscribe page hosted by LSC and confirmation of unsubscribe e-mails. The Web-based service provides password-protected site access to the database of suppression names for vendors. It also offers nightly hygiene.


"We built what we call 'custom forensic logic,' which cleanses the data each night, checks for duplicates and looks for alphabet attacks," Kauder said.


Alphabet attacks occur when someone makes opt-out requests for a mass number of random e-mail addresses in the hope that some of them will be on a direct marketer's e-mail list.


"If every day you average 100 opt-outs but one day you get 100,000, the system will catch that," he said. "It also sends a response e-mail, and if that bounces there is an indication of something wrong."


The infoUSA-owned firms Walter Karl and Yesmail also started a service, called E-Suppression File Management.


"We can provide this service for management clients as well as outside advertisers or even another list firm on behalf of its mailers," said John Hammersley, general manager of the Walter Karl Interactive division of Walter Karl, a Donnelley company, Pearl River, NY. "Knowing merge-purge inside and out from the postal side gives us a good base [of] knowledge to perform e-mail suppression."


Walter Karl's Web-based system creates the opt-out link and Web landing page, confirms the opt-out request and updates, cleanses and maintains the suppression file. E-Suppression is also a Web-based service with names posted to the database in real time.


The Suppression Solution is the service offered by XactMail in reaction to CAN-SPAM.


"Clients were starting to do e-mailings in the beginning of January, and we were having to develop an extra advertiser-specific opt-out link," said Jim Scova, sales manager for XactMail, the opt-in e-mail division of VentureDirect Worldwide, New York. "Some advertisers were doing it themselves but we decided it was a service we could provide."


As with the other suppression solutions, XactMail's system provides the opt-out link and Web page and updates the suppression file live as requests are made. Data hygiene is included.


NetCreations, New York, launched the DNE Manager last week. It includes features for unique URL creation, campaign tracking and encryption.


Generally, these e-mail suppression file services are offered for a flat monthly fee ranging from about $250 to $2,000 based on activity.


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