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The Risk of Disposable Email Addresses: Throwing the Baby out with the Bathwater

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by: Robert Consoli (@IBMforMarketing)
18 May 2010

While email continues to be a fantastic way for companies and consumers to maintain a dialogue, spammers also continue to flood inboxes—making the sea rough for both legitimate senders and recipients. Add the recent rise of “disposable email addresses” and the water becomes even more treacherous.

With large ISPs, like Yahoo, now advocating the practice of creating separate email accounts for consumers to provide to companies that have not yet earned their trust, marketers must be more diligent than ever about list practices and acquisition. Let’s face it, at some point many of these disposable email addresses will receive unwanted messages until the recipient cancels the account. And if you’re legitimately sending relevant messages to that address, your emails not only won’t reach the recipient, but your program will likely suffer from higher bounce rates that could damage your deliverability.

So what’s a marketer to do?  First, make it clear to a potential recipient why you are asking for their information, how you will use it and who you will (or will not) share it with. Convince them that your emails deserve to land in their primary inbox.  Do this by being honest and up front about the types of emails you distribute and how often you do so. 

Even better, give recipients choices and let them shape their marketing by telling you what they want to receive, through what channels and when. Then deliver.

If they do decide they want to stop receiving messages from you, make it easy for them to opt out or adjust their preferences to make the dialogue more beneficial to them.  While no one wants to help a recipient end a relationship, it’s better to let them go easily than to let them feel the SPAM button is their best option.

The key to success in a highly disposable world is to ensure your messages are wanted and even anticipated.  Start by being transparent and true to your word.


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