On my way home from a restful Caribbean vacation I picked up a copy of the New York Times during a stopover at Charlotte Douglas International. On the front page in the Inside feature section read a headline "Do Not Call, Write or..." Since I'm an email marketer, naturally my curiosity piqued and I read the article. Needless to say I have never read such an ill researched piece of crap from the mainstream media then what I read in the New York Times that day. The premise of the article was to give advice to consumers about how to remove their names from marketing lists.... snail mail, email, etc. In the article Damon Darlin suggests to readers that "Whatever you do, do not respond to an unsolicited e-mail message when it gives you the option to opt out of receiving more e-mail. That is a trick used by spammers to confirm they hit a live address. Once that happens, your address goes to a prime list and is sold to other spammers. You may even find legitimate businesses eventually using addresses on that list."
Where is the research behind this claim? All the spam that I have received for Viagra, fake Rolex watches and winning lottery tickets never have an opt-out link. Granted, I'm sure the practice by spammers of using an opt-out link to trick unsuspecting consumers to verify their email address may happen on rare occasion. However if a spammer wanted to use that opt-out link methodology to really confirm email addresses they would simply measure the open rate... a spammer would a better net result and the process would be much more efficient. Therefore Darlin's claim is total bogus. Yes, spam is an issue however sending unsolicited commercial email in the United Stats is not illegal and legitimate companies practicing this do include an opt-out link if they have half a brain cell. Therefore not using an opt-out link to such email would simply have the opposite effect stated by Darlin. The bottom line is that Darlin and the New York Times have done a disservice to consumers and have contributed to the undermining of legitimate marketer's efforts to educate consumers to use the opt-out link.
Read the New York Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/20/business/20money.html?_r=1&oref=slogin