I was trying to get some traffic stats and I went to Compete.com to get it. The links on the home page were not working and so I decided to register. They asked me some prickly questions:

  • Salary
  • Gender
  • Year of Birth

I was a bit unnerved about being asked for these tidbits, but since I wanted the data, I continued with the registeration. After the registeration, I checked my account options. It turned out that they decided to sign me up for their newsletters, without asking for my permission.

So they are follwing an auto opt-in strategy. I had to take myself off their emails.

While start-ups need traffic, I think its unethical to sign-up users on email lists without asking their permission. When a company adopts this approach, it runs the risk of getting caught by spam blockers. Its much easier to press the “report spam” button (in Gmail for example) than it is to unsubscribe. Overall, an unhealthy approach to increasing traffic.

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Intrusive Marketing?

September 27, 2006

Retailers already use bar-code data to understand consumer behavior and to create and segment customer profiles using purchase data. This data tells the retailer how often you visit, whether you visit the same store or different ones in the chain and ties individual users to their purchases during each visit.
Now retailers are going a step further. They want to understand what customers do inside the store. A consortium of major retailers (including Walmart, Coca Cola and P&G) is testing a system that uses infrared rays to track which exact aisle shoppers visited and which ones they ignored. This will help them refine their in-store marketing initiatives like aisle displays or for buying ads on in-store TV networks.

Do you think this is a bit intrusive?