Monday, June 21, 1999

Speedy Delivery

Speedy Delivery (excerpt)
Allan Hoffman, Newark Star-Ledger, June 21 1999

...Sometimes the problems were caused, in part, by the speed with which the Internet became popular. A major Atlantic City casino, for instance, gathered about 10,000 e-mail addresses from visitors to its Web site, starting in 1996 or 1997, but hadn't made it completely clear whether they would receive e-mail messages as a result. About 1 or 2 per cent would "yell and scream and make a big fuss" upon receiving e-mails, notes Dan Birchall, an opt-in advocate and vice president of technology for Digital Facilities Management, a Web design and hosting company in Haddonfield.

Eventually, the 10,000-name list was scrapped. Customers were sent a final e-mail, asking if they wanted to "opt-in" to a new list (with special offers from the casino). "We're almost back to 10,000 again," says Birchall, who has a sort of slogan for the "opt-in" versus "opt-out" debate: "If you want people to complain when they get your mail, choose opt-out. If you want people to complain when they don't get your mail, choose opt-in."

(This "slogan" was dubbed "Birchall's First Law" by an Australian colleague in the spamfighting community.)

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