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Ken Magill

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Stupid Study Watch: 55%? Pshaw!

By Ken Magill
And from the “how-gullible-do-they-think-we-are?” file comes a survey done by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority claiming that Canadians gave consent to continue to receive commercial messages 55 percent of the time this summer.
The survey was spurred by Canada’s anti-spam law, which went into effect in July.
The law requires marketers who send commercial email to Canadians to have permission to do so and be able to prove it.
As a result, many Canadian companies sent email to people on their lists this summer asking permission to continue to send.
Recipients who failed to respond in the affirmative would presumably have to be suppressed.
According to the CIRA and Ipsos Reid, survey respondents said they consented to continue receiving more than half of their commercial messages, on average.
Folks, direct marketing just doesn’t work this way.
Am I saying the CIRA and Ipsos Ried are lying? Absolutely not.
I believe survey respondents said they consented to continue to receive commercial email 55 percent of the time.
But self reported behavior is notoriously inaccurate.
The figure is likely closer to 10 percent.
In marketing, inertia rules. It is extremely difficult to believe more than half of Canadian reconfirmation emails were powerful enough to overcome subscriber apathy.
There is simply no way Canadians are that engaged with their commercial emails. Then again, winter does get brittle-ass-hair cold up there.
Moreover, 62 percent of respondents said they are confident Canada’s anti-spam law will be successful at reducing spam, indicating a seriously delusional sample population.
For a comparative example in confirmation messages, the Magill Report has a 30 percent to 40 percent drop-off rate in subscribers who fail to reply to the newsletter’s confirmation email—an email that is sent out the moment they type their email addresses into the website subscription box.
These people didn’t give their permission a year ago, or two years ago. They weren’t added to my list with a pre-checked box or through an affiliate program or some other shady list-building scheme.
They specifically typed in their email addresses a microsecond before receiving the confirmation email and yet double-digit percentages still fail to confirm their subscriptions.
Are we to believe that reconfirmation messages sent to lists that were cobbled together any number of ways over any number of years outperform confirmation messages sent to recipients who just made a conscious effort to subscribe?
The survey results will reportedly be the topic of a panel discussion at the Canadian Internet Forum in Ottawa on Oct. 9.
Canadians are notoriously polite. But it would be nice to think someone in the audience would cough: “bullshit!”

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