SOURCE: UnsubCentral

June 02, 2005 09:00 ET

Email Reputation Provider LashBack Shines the Light on Email Unsubscribe

LashBack Partners With UnsubCentral to Bring Accountability and Consumer Trust to the Opt-Out Process

SAINT LOUIS, MO and AUSTIN, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 2, 2005 -- Today, LashBack LLC, an email reputation provider, announced the names of the top ten U.S. advertisers whose suppression lists have been misused -- resulting in more email from more sources after consumers have opted out. In related news, LashBack also announced a partnership with UnsubCentral, the leading provider of email suppression management services, to bring accountability and consumer trust into the opt-out process.

The CAN-SPAM Act requires that U.S. advertisers provide a working unsubscribe link in every commercial email message. Consumers are instructed to follow this "opt-out" link to be removed from mailing lists. Under the law, the advertiser has ten business days to stop sending commercial email messages to that consumer.

LashBack monitored over 500,000 IP addresses and 100,000 unsubscribe mechanisms in order to identify improper management of opt-out lists. LashBack tracked and monitored three aspects of the opt-out process:

1.  Failure to provide a working opt-out link in the body of the email
    message

2.  Failure to honor opt-opt requests within ten business days

3.  Abuse of opt-out requests resulting in more spam
As required by the CAN-SPAM Act, all ten advertisers on the LashBack list provided a working opt-out link. Unfortunately, in certain instances, the listed advertisers have had their suppression lists misused. When suppression lists are misused, it causes consumers to receive more spam after they request removal, contributing to a lack of trust in email.

LashBack Partners with UnsubCentral to Ensure Opt-outs are Managed Efficiently

Lashback and UnsubCentral today announced they are in the process of developing a "safe unsubscribe" mechanism for commercial email messages. Working closely with Internet Service Providers, standards organizations and privacy watchdogs, the mechanism will be easily identifiable by consumers and supported by major ISPs and email software programs.

According to Joshua Baer, CEO of UnsubCentral, managing suppression lists and the overall opt-opt process is challenging, especially when the advertiser is sending campaigns across affiliate networks and third-party channels. "Recent enforcement of the CAN-SPAM Act makes it clear that the advertiser is responsible for compliance and must protect suppression lists or else halt their email marketing efforts," said Baer. "Email marketing is a powerful customer acquisition and retention channel and serves as a major revenue generation stream. Halting or stalling campaigns will not only adversely affect revenue; it will also ultimately result in the lack of a competitive edge against companies successfully managing compliance."

Brandon Phillips, president of LashBack, believes that advertisers on the list may not have taken sufficient precautions to prevent misuse of their unsubscribe process and suppression lists. "LashBack recognizes UnsubCentral's suppression list management service as the only third-party solution that provides consistently reliable protection from opt-out abuse. Partnering with UnsubCentral will improve unsubscribe systems and ensure compliance with spam legislation while protecting consumers from an influx of spam," said Phillips. "We are actively working with advertisers to prevent suppression list abuse by publishers who violate the terms of their affiliate agreement and, in turn, compromise CAN-SPAM compliance."

After being alerted to the activities of a rogue publisher in their affiliate network, Vendare Media, a major online media company, took immediate action. Through the use of LashBack's UnsubSafe technology, Vendare Media routed out the offending publisher who was violating Vendare's Affiliate Network Terms and Conditions. Vendare took immediate action to terminate the rogue publisher and continues to work with LashBack to ensure that this publisher ceases all such activities.

"LashBack's technology was extraordinarily useful to us as we sought to promptly address this problem," said Brett Cravatt, chief product officer at Vendare. Cravatt added, "The offending publisher, in clear violation of our policies, misused our suppression list. With the help of LashBack, we were able to take immediate action and are implementing additional security and safeguards to prevent this from happening in the future. We are evaluating internal and external solutions such as UnsubCentral. We take our CAN-SPAM compliance and list suppression obligations very seriously and are thankful that LashBack brought this situation to our attention."

"By monitoring practices associated with this aspect of CAN-SPAM compliance and partnering with UnsubCentral, LashBack assists legitimate marketers, such as Vendare Media, in safely managing their email marketing campaigns and enhancing consumer trust in email," said Phillips. "We can also give Congress clear evidence that the law is being broken. We sincerely hope efforts like ours will result in the allocation of more funding to the FTC in order to swiftly prosecute violators."

LashBack offers a free plug-in for Microsoft® Outlook® and Outlook Express that allows users to report spam. The data contained in the LashBack list originated from actual consumer spam reports. This list was compiled and collected from email campaigns sent within the past 60 days. To view the list of the top ten offending advertisers, please visit www.LashBack.com/top10/

About LashBack

LashBack LLC is an email reputation provider focused on making unsubscribe work for both senders and receivers of email. LashBack provides its UnsubSafe services to ISPs and anti-spam firms, allowing consumers to simply and safely unsubscribe from email that they don't want. LashBack also provides unsubscribe reputation scores to leading email reputation providers, as well as unsubscribe monitoring services to email advertisers and senders. To learn more about LashBack, visit www.LashBack.com

About UnsubCentral

UnsubCentral, Inc. provides email suppression, campaign performance management and consumer preference management solutions to leading advertisers, ad networks, and affiliate networks. The Austin, Texas-based corporation offers solutions that create a secure environment for managing opt-out lists across the enterprise, affiliates and various third parties. Integrated with major affiliate networks and email service providers and reviewed by TRUSTe, the solutions ensure clients comply with the CAN-SPAM Act and data privacy requirements. For more information, please visit www.unsubcentral.com

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Kathleen Bagley Formidoni
    blast! PR for LashBack / UnsubCentral
    919-833-9975 x.11
    kathleen@blastpr.com