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opt-in e-mail
Last modified: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 

A term that refers to promotional e-mails that have been requested by the individual receiving them. Unlike spam promotional e-mails that get sent out to large lists of recipients without regard to whether or not they want the information, opt-in e-mails are only sent to people who specifically request them.

Opt-in e-mails are targeted and often personalized and carry information about specific topics or promotions that users are interested in learning about. Typical opt-in e-mails contain newsletters, product information or special promotional offers. For example, if a user frequented a Web site that sold books and music online, that user could "opt in" to receive announcements when his favorite author or musician released new material. The promotional e-mail may even present the recipient with a special promotional offer to purchase the product at a discount available only to those on the opt-in list.

Spammers, however, have found a way to use the opt-in feature to their advantage. Spam e-mails often come with opt-in features in fine print or obscured somewhere in the body of the e-mail with text that reads something to the effect of "Failure to respond to this e-mail will automatically opt-in the recipient to future mailings." The strategy of responding to the spam and asking to be removed from future mailings also has critics as some claim that responding to a spam e-mail with a request to be removed from the mailing list signals that the e-mail address is a working address and the address can then be passed on to other spammers.

Also see Getting Rid of Spam in the Did You Know section of Webopedia.

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For pages about opt-in e-mail . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Eye on Spam 
Powerful weapons have emerged in the war against spam, so why isn't the problem going away? A 2002 Datamation article.'s Opt-In Announcements  
Free targeted third-party mailings that will notify you of products and services that meet your technology interests.

ROKSO Home Page 
Database of known spammers who have repeatedly violated ISP's anti-spam regulations.

8 Ways to Take Names
Some creative, but ethical, methods for getting visitors to opt-in to your e-list.

How Not to Unsubscribe
Is it safe to use an 'unsubscribe' link to stop getting e-mail from a particular sender? Or will clicking the link just get you more spam?

Opt-In E-Mail: The Solution to Today's Mail Scares
InternetDay looks at the financial advantages of opt-in e-mail programs.

The Spamhouse Project
An organization that works with ISPs to identify and remove spammers from the Internet.

Sponsored listings

Constant Contact: Opt-In Email Management - Web-based tool allowing small businesses to easily create email campaigns, build and manage opt-in email lists, and track email campaign results.

Lyris Technologies, Inc.: Opt-In Email Marketing - Offers opt-in email list software for managing and growing in-house email lists, as well as creating email campaigns, newsletters, and groups.

Transcontinental Direct: Email Lists - Business and Technology Email, Postal and Telemarketing Lists: Postal and Phone lists from leading reputable sources in technology and B2B markets.

iPost: Opt-In Email Marketing - iPost does not rent or sell email lists, but instead works exclusively with your own permission-based (opt-in) lists collected by your brand.

Silverpop: Permission-Based Email Marketing - Email marketing services provider, specializing in direct email campaigns. Ranked as highest overall business value by Jupiter Research.

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