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September 18, 2006


rachael Dalton-Taggart

Great article. Great subject and something that occupies me a lot in my various roles. If we are looking at the 'new media' there are already problems there.

For example, every few months my email inbox fills up with multiple copies of 'Cafe' news - MCADcafe, AECcafe etc). I go through a slow process of unsubscribing them and notice, especially last week, that the newsletter is being sent to a number of emails that I have definitely NOT signed up (read: not opted in). As I have multiple emails that end up in my in-box, i can start to see when an email has been scraped and then used.

Do I blame Dave for doing this? Not really. Any email on a press release is probably regarded as fresh meat. But I do object when I see marketing pieces from MCADcafe claiming to send out a newsletter to 70,000-plus recipients....at least 10 of which are emails that come to me and of which only 2 are opted in!

So why am I revealing this? Because it comes down to ethics. With the old print magazine model, there was a wide and strong acceptance for BPA audits and similar. Even while these could be somewhat skewed by a savvy publisher, they took measures to minimize any misrepresentation of data. BPA can do little or nothing, in my opinion, to thoroughly measure and monitor web traffic, opt-in emails etc that a web site receives. Advertisers are now very subject to the whims and exaggerations of the publishers and the only balance is the publisher's ethics.

And don't get me wrong - I don't intend to pick on Dave specifically. His sites are just a current example of what can be wrong in the 'new media', and is a reflection of the general publishing industry (yourself not included BTW). Without some strong auditing tools, advertisers are a potential victim of publishers who may not be entirely ethical. I think advertisers should push for better monitoring and auditing and not simply trust that the right thing might occur.

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