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Re: AM: email marketing; opt-in or out?

To:     Andrew Forbes <>
Subject:     Re: AM: email marketing; opt-in or out?
From:     Ross Stapleton-Gray <>
Date:     Mon, 12 Jan 1998 22:52:37 -0500 (EST)

On Mon, 12 Jan 1998, Andrew Forbes wrote:

> I'd add the 10 million? HotMail users that accepted free email in
> exchange for having to deal with marketing collateral to the list
> of people that don't seem too troubled by Internet privacy.

The whole HotMail phenomenon would be worth some investigation.  Is there
a final number for what MS paid for them?  I'll confess to having been
surprised that the service worked as well as it has--a better mousetrap,
at least for the time being (in a couple of years, the ISP market will
look nothing like it does today, and I suspect that the idea of an "E-mail
account" will be similarly mutated in some wonderful direction).

> BTW, I got a call from someone that wanted to chat about AOLs
> demographic targeting plans; the conversation was not very 
> detailed but the gist was that they were headed in that direction.

I'm sure they are, and that's an enormous force waiting to be unleashed. 
While they *have* been relatively behaved, they do own billions of
factoids about many millions of Americans, and there are very few
statutory requirements to maintain a customer's information as private
(e.g., the so-called "Bork bill" that makes it a federal crime to reveal
what video tapes someone's rented).  I've found it useful to imagine
analogs in other businesses... what if, for example, Bell Atlantic decided
to get into the financial investment market on the strength of mining its
call logs and running profiles to determine which businesses might be
under SEC scrutiny, or which companies might be intending a merger?  

There are some delicate issues here, regarding common-carrier vs.
publisher status, and the trust a service provider enjoys from those it

Ross Stapleton-Gray                     TeleDiplomacy, Inc.                    2503 Columbia Pike, Suite 118
Director, Electronic Embassy Program    Arlington VA 22204

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