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Thread: Sos

  1. #61
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    Gentlemen, I believe the debate over the valuation of the email list is an exercise in futility.

    (1) it doesn't matter. As Alan pointed out, the value of the list is not material - according to the OCPF, SOS was entitled to share its list with Yes4WHS and their only initially unfulfilled obligation was to report it, which they initially did not think to do, but then remedied.

    (2) it is extremely difficult to value an email list. John and Alan have argued that the value is the savings associated with emailing v. USPS mailing, but I can't find any source anywhere that values lists that way. Ben argues that email lists are available very cheap, and while I know that's true, perhaps you couldn't just buy a list of Wayland email addresses so easily. When I did searches "value of an email list" or "cost of an email list", I got tremendous ranges, from "zilch, zero, nada" to precisely $118/address. That's quite a range! I would have been confused trying to assign a value to that list! I don't know how they got to $150, but I think a wide range of values are justifiable, and since Alan has already pointed out that the list value doesn't matter as far as the OCPF goes, is it worth battling over this?

    I think it would be much more productive to discuss what we think is OK in emailing. What about my original question:

    How do you feel about emails you get which are the result of your email address being culled from other unrelated emails? (For example, what if you get an email from a member of your church on a non-church related issue, and the mailer had no personal experience with you? what if you get an email from a political candidate who got your email address from a mailing you were both on, say a curling club mailing, or a mailing you both got because your kids were in the same class at school?)

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by BTDowns View Post
    A better comparable is the list of registered voters in Wayland which can be purchased from the town clerk for $15. If you wanted something a little more selective how about registered Republicans between the age of 20 and 73, that list would cost you $15. How about the list of everyone who took a ballot in the election for the High School debt exclusion - $15. Information on how many ballots that were turned in by district unmarked - free. Very interesting information based on another discussion. The mailing address, the alternative mailing address, the profession, the race, the political party, etc is all available for $15. I think the SOS list because it is all email addresses is probably worth more but not 10 times as much.
    It is certainly amazing what is available to the marketer for $15 -- knowing people's age, profession and party affiliation is probably quite handy to the knowledgeable marketer. And since one can readily learn who voted in each election, they can limit their marketing to those people who regularly turn out to vote. Quite the bargain at $15!

    I am suddenly reminded of the Mastercard Ads:

    Voting information from the Town Clerk's office: $15
    Election results available online: Free
    Friendly discussion among neighbors: Priceless

  3. #63
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    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Gentlemen, I believe the debate over the valuation of the email list is an exercise in futility.

    (1) it doesn't matter. As Alan pointed out, the value of the list is not material - according to the OCPF, SOS was entitled to share its list with Yes4WHS and their only initially unfulfilled obligation was to report it, which they initially did not think to do, but then remedied.

    (2) it is extremely difficult to value an email list. John and Alan have argued that the value is the savings associated with emailing v. USPS mailing, but I can't find any source anywhere that values lists that way. Ben argues that email lists are available very cheap, and while I know that's true, perhaps you couldn't just buy a list of Wayland email addresses so easily. When I did searches "value of an email list" or "cost of an email list", I got tremendous ranges, from "zilch, zero, nada" to precisely $118/address. That's quite a range! I would have been confused trying to assign a value to that list! I don't know how they got to $150, but I think a wide range of values are justifiable, and since Alan has already pointed out that the list value doesn't matter as far as the OCPF goes, is it worth battling over this?

    I think it would be much more productive to discuss what we think is OK in emailing. What about my original question:

    How do you feel about emails you get which are the result of your email address being culled from other unrelated emails? (For example, what if you get an email from a member of your church on a non-church related issue, and the mailer had no personal experience with you? what if you get an email from a political candidate who got your email address from a mailing you were both on, say a curling club mailing, or a mailing you both got because your kids were in the same class at school?)
    Kim, as I tried to say a number of times the OCPF value of an email is the cost of printing/materials/labor/postage. This is around $1 / piece. If 3,000 emails are sent 6 times then that would be the 'snail mail' equivalent of $18,000.

    Using one data point from InfoUSA, the Wayland list has 410 leads for a cost of $475 per mailing which is greater than $1 / piece. Note that InfoUSA does not give you the emails, it just mails for you and lets you know how many people responded and provides you the responded emails. So if you wanted InfoUSA to email 6 times to that list it would be 6 x $475. This is very similar to the model I've stated above and before.

    Also note that there were only 410 available from this large supplier and you never got to see the email addresses. So even if you repeated this exercise with other suppliers, trying to get to that 3,000 figure... you would never be sure that you would not have duplicates or registered voters or people who cared about political issues like the schools.

    The SOS list is highly proprietary just like that WVN list is highly proprietary or the WaylandeNews list or the WSC.org list etc.... each one of these took years and effort to compile. To compare these lists to 'snail mail' lists from the town clerk is ludicrous and shows a lack of understanding of the true value of what it means to have large highly targeted email list.

    What is reasonable to believe is that YES4WHS did not go to a 3rd party list vendor to get to a highly targeted Wayland email list but rather it transferred to usage of that powerful list no less than 6 times from itself (SOS) while failing to adhere to its own written policy of 'getting permission' before usage and then did not disclose that transfer to a front BQC by duly noting it on their initial OCPF filing.

    It did remedy the situation AFTER it was caught and after the OCPF called them on it. I used the word 'sketchy' before. I'll use it again.

    To answer your question it has to do with stated and written policy and whether there is an OCPF filing required.
    If a pre-existing stated policy of email collection is established with the email giver then it should be adhered to - this is how a large and targeted list is compiled, through a trust agreement.
    If no agreement is established upfront then that obligation against an initial mailing is not there but the price that is paid by the mailer is that the list will not be as large or targeted or effective.
    So the policy of collection makes all the difference.

    From the OCPF's point of view, disclosure is everything.
    If disclosure is not done then its illegal and subject to penalty which can be as minor as a remedy to re-file and up to a fine.

    Waylandenews has an established policy of email collection which includes a written opt-in and not an opt-out. (Constant Contact... same as SOS)
    If Waylandenews were to loan its list to another group and justify it by sending out an email telling the recipients that they are about to get an email from another group then they:
    1. Have not satisfied the terms of their policy with a notification that they were about to get an email from another group.
    2. Have acted disengenuously with its database.

    If the other group was a BQC then it would be required to disclose the contribution from WaylandeNews.
    If the other group was a PAC then it would not only be required to disclose the contribution but it would be limited to a contribution of no more than $500 which would seriously limit the size of the list of the number of times it would be mailed.

    I think it all comes down to the terms of the agreement you have with the people you collected the email from.
    If you have no agreement then a one time mailing would be ok on an opt-out basis.... but certainly not six.
    In fact, this is what email list services do. They allow a mail once on an opt-out basis which is perfectly legal and moral.

  4. #64
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    I can think of lots of different ways to value an email address:

    1. The cost to collect that address
    2. The cost to rent an address for one-time use from a company such as MDR ($0.15; they supply physical and email addresses for schools and perhaps other organizations)
    3. The rental cost times the number of usages
    4. The value of a company that (only) rents email addresses divided by the number of addresses that they have
    5. The revenue resulting from the email campaign divided by the number of email messages sent


    Are there others? Probably--I'd love to hear candidates.

    Of the list above, (1) is tricky because you don't know how to value the time of volunteers. (2) isn't bad, nor is (3)--I can get email addresses for all Title I directors in the US, in Texas, or in a particular zip code if I like, which is pretty targeted. (4) is hard to determine--there aren't many companies that only rent addresses, and valuing these companies isn't easy unless they are public. (5) doesn't really apply, as there's no revenue in this case.

    One way that doesn't make sense to me is to use the cost to send a print piece instead as the value of the email. The channels are simply too different. I found this past year (in educational publishing) that the return on investment for print pieces was *dramatically* higher than for email. That may be because people get so many email messages these days relative to regular mail such that the latter stands out.

    Using the print piece cost would be like saying that the value of a phone call to find out if a store carries a product is equal to the cost of driving (time, gasoline, wear and tear on the car) to that store to find out in person. They are two completely different activities. With the latter, you might, for instance, see related products that meet your need, something that you might not have learned with the phone call.

  5. #65
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    One thing that no one has directly mentioned above as to the value of an email list is, I think the most obvious - whatever the market will bear.

    If someone is willing to pay $1000 per name because of the perceived value of obtaining such a list, then that is what it will cost.

    We can discuss till the cows come home about what each of our opinions is as to what the value is.

    But Alan has already cut through all that and gone right to a source and provided a quote. One might find varying prices from other companies, some probably even providing lists for free (except the benefit fot the company of course, is that they get yours in the process), however as anyone who has ever paid for a mailing list will tell you, you get what you pay for.
    Getting a list of old, outdated names is worthless, but some people will be happy to sell you thousands of names for just pennies, where a large percentage of them are bad.

    The SOS list is a very clean list (they even removed me last year, so you know they are right on top of cleaning out the names of people who no longer agree with their policies/tactics/methods). So, its' value is greater, due to how up to date and how clean it is, as well as how targeted it is, than some genric list from InfoUSA which can only provide you with email addresses of any Wayland resident. (they do allow for some specificity, i.e. gender, income, home value, etc., but nothing so specific as whether or not a given idividual is likely to support a new high school, based on their past involvlement in "school-friendly" issues, which some people believe SOS has developed a reputation for, because in some instances they have supported certain things pertaining to the schools).

    So, for these reasons, the SOS list could be said to have a greater value than a list one might buy for $475 x 6.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    One thing that no one has directly mentioned above as to the value of an email list is, I think the most obvious - whatever the market will bear. [...] If someone is willing to pay $1000 per name because of the perceived value of obtaining such a list, then that is what it will cost. We can discuss till the cows come home about what each of our opinions is as to what the value is. But Alan has already cut through all that and gone right to a source and provided a quote.
    OK, here's another source: http://emailzipcode.net/buy-email-addresses.php

    Here, I enter in 01778 and get 727 addresses for $14.24. "All email leads are 100% permission based and updated monthly. We provide advertisers the ability to reach US local targeted audiences through email and postal marketing." Just another datapoint.

  7. #67
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    Default Good luck with that.

    For $14, why don't you give it a shot?
    Try it and see. Maybe you can expand Wayland eNews' reach with such a list.

    On the other hand, you might wish you still had that $14 in your pocket.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    For $14, why don't you give it a shot?
    Try it and see. Maybe you can expand Wayland eNews' reach with such a list.

    On the other hand, you might wish you still had that $14 in your pocket.
    :-)

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  9. #69
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    Wayland MA
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    I've recently checked with the OCPF on this and they agree they would assign a value of pen/paper/postage to an email.
    Alan, I'm curious--did you ask the OCPF how they value an email address and they responded with pen/paper/postage, or did you propose p/p/p and they agreed? Put another way, how much thought have they put into valuing an email address? What other methods did they consider and reject? What other methods do they endorse/allow?

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    I think it all comes down to the terms of the agreement you have with the people you collected the email from.
    If you have no agreement then a one time mailing would be ok on an opt-out basis.... but certainly not six.
    In fact, this is what email list services do. They allow a mail once on an opt-out basis which is perfectly legal and moral.
    The SOS emails were collected for a purpose consistent with what Yes4WHS put them to. People who received those emails had previously received emails from SOS advocating for a new high school.

    In contrast... no matter what the value is, whether it is one cent per name or a million dollars...it seems quite a breach of trust to steal or misappropriate addresses for some purpose other than what they were given for (e.g., if I signed up for Curling Club information, that address should not be used by others, even other curling club members, for their own political advocacy). If you have no agreement with the recipients, then why is even a one-time mailing OK?

    As an example, I am a member of the Wayland Swim & Tennis club, and all members have access to all other members email addresses. Would it really be OK for me to email all those members on a non-WSTC related issue? I don't think so, not even once, not even with opt-out. In my opinion, that would absolutely be a misuse of that list. I don't need someone from the WSTC to send me a clear policy telling me not to do that, I know better.

  11. #71
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    Also, while not agreeing with the pen/paper/postage model as a way to value an email address, I contend that the $1 figure isn't necessarily the right one. It's possible to send a postcard for $0.28. Per www.fedexoffice.com, it's possible to print 3,000 double-sided, quarter-page, black and white postcards for $0.05 each. Without getting into the details of how you print the addresses or affix the postage, that's $0.33 per piece, not $1.

    I wonder, though, why it's a print piece that would be the comparison. Could you say instead that the email replaces an ad in the local paper? A robocall? A paid employee going door-to-door? A Super Bowl ad? Would the value comparison be against the next most expensive way of accomplishing the task, or any way of accomplishing the task?

  12. #72
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    Mar 2008
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    Default Reminder of the Purpose of this Post

    Just looking back at this post and seeing how off path it has gone.

    1. How do people feel about having their e-mails sold/given away to organizations in town without their permission?
    2. Why did SOS feel the need to hide behind YES4WHS to advocate for the high school?
    3. What is the future of this group in the eyes of Wayland citizens?

    Those questions were the reason this post was created. There has been limited response to them, and lots of discussion about other unrelated subjects.

    Anyone else?

  13. #73
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    Apr 2009
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    117

    Default The 3 questions

    Jeff, my first thoughts about answering your three questions turned out not to be my final thoughts...

    Question 1: I think SOS's sharing of email addresses was wrong. If an organization has a policy (based on trust) of not sharing email addresses, they should not share them. If they do share them it points to: they were “evil”, knew what they were doing was wrong, calculated the costs and benefits, and hoped not to get caught; or were “ethically challenged”, didn’t have any thoughts about whether sharing was right or wrong; or “just didn’t give it any thought”, the two organizations were the same, the people were the same, they already had the email addresses, so no sharing, no thought about it. Which would get us to Jeff’s second question.

    But first, if they were sharing my email address, I wouldn’t care. In fact, I put my address at the bottom of my posts because I want more information. If SOS wanted to send me information, even unsolicited, even as Yes4WHS, fine. I think I understand well enough that information people send me is often one-sided, and I think about it accordingly, but am glad to have it.

    Question 2: I have no idea why SOS couldn’t promote support for the High School itself. I mean I always thought SOS was more than Save Our Services, in fact that it meant Support Our Schools.

    Question 3: My answer to this question evolved the most.

    First I thought: Of course SOS has the same future it always had, a significant lobbying group that would continue unfazed. No significant numbers of people were going to care about the email sharing.

    Then I thought: No, SOS lobbies for funds for the schools. They just got the new high school. How much more can they ask for? Especially given the town’s probably poor fiscal future, with everybody having to cut services. So, SOS will be diminished because there won’t be any room to lobby for more money.

    Last but not least: What if SOS was a responsible organization or evolved into one? Then maybe in return for getting funding for the high school, they could work for school and town spending to be made as efficient/productive as possible. If they’re going to promote high taxes to maintain good schools, then maybe they could help ensure that the money isn’t wasted, and that the negative impact on less affluent townspeople was somehow lessened.

    And I said, ya, why not!

    donBustin@verizon.net

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