Associate Programs Newsletter #240
Do you want to help save affiliate marketing?
Yes? Read on…
Our deadline is April 20.
It looks as though the Can-Spam Act is likely to be interpreted in a totally idiotic way that would make life extremely difficult for any affiliate who promotes affiliate products in a newsletter.
It also makes life extremely difficult for affiliate merchants.
When I first heard about what's happening, I wondered if it was alarmist talk or a marketing ploy. It sounded too idiotic to be true.
However, people I respect have researched this thoroughly, and THEY are alarmed.
For example, Anne Holland of MarketingSherpa spent hours on the phone grilling FTC Staff Attorney Michael Goodman. She calls what's happening “supression list hell”.
Paul Myers has taken a lot of time to write a long, thoughtful piece on the subject, urging us to take action.
Dr. Michel Fortin says its scary.
Ralph Wilson urges us to take action TODAY. He says we should penalize the spammers, not legitimate businesses who are trying to sends emails responsibly.
Although the law has been passed, the interpretation and implementation of it by the FTC are still open for comment, so we CAN still do something about it.
Anne describes how the Can-Spam Act affects us:
“If anyone in the US clicks on a commercial email message's opt-out link, their name has to be suppressed from all commercial emails ‘from' the product or service brand that the initial message was about. (‘From' means whether you push the send button yourself, or an outside marketer sends an email to anyone on your behalf.)
“Sounds simple – but it's not.
“The problem is it's not about opting out of a list as most permission mailers understand it. It's about opting out of a brand name.
“The email recipient is saying, ‘I don't want to ever get another promotional message via email about this brand name again, no matter what list my name is on'.”
How does this work – or not work? Here's an example.
Today I received an email from OfferWeb affiliate network, providing a new product for affiliates to promote.
The email included this warning:
“AFFILIATE NOTE: We require that all affiliates suppress the adv. unsubs prior to mailing this offer. Please contact [email address deleted] for this list.”
In other words, before sending out your newsletter, you're being forced to check with OfferWeb that none of the people on its unsubscribe list are subscribed to your newsletter.
What if you're promoting several affiliate products in your newsletter? The FTC expects you to scrub your list against the unsub lists of ALL those affiliate merchants.
What if someone unsubscribes from your newsletter? You'll have to ensure each merchant whose product you're promoting has a access to YOUR unsub list.
Suppression list services are popping to to provide this service.
What a nightmare! How can the average affiliate cope with this?
No wonder Anne calls this “suppression list hell”.
Some affiliate merchants are offering their affiliates a gift if they tell the FTC what they think about the law.
For example, Marlon Sanders is offering his customers one of his products as a reward for helping save us from this insanity…
If you're an affiliate merchant, you could do the same. At the very least, please warn your affiliates about this – but do it fast. Time is running out.
If this is the first you've heard about this idiocy, you must be wondering if it's true.
Here's some bedtime reading…
Here's the law, so you can check the wording for yourself:
A discussion on the AssociatePrograms.com Forum:
(Please don't just join in the discussion. Please also tell the FTC what you think.)
We have only until April 20 to try to stop this nightmare.
We can submit comments online, by mail, or by courier.
Be polite. We want to be taken seriously.
To have your say, use this official form…
(You don't have to answer all the questions in the form. Just use the comment box at the bottom to have your say on suppression lists.)
…OR adapt the letter at Marlon's link and receive a gift..
If enough of us complain, perhaps we'll stop this nightmare.
Please have your say. I have.
(Feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and subscribers.)
All the best