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RealTime IT News

NetCreations Dabbles in Single-Opt-In

New York-based NetCreations is shifting its strategy to begin handling single opt-in lists, after years of promoting its insistence on double-opt-in lists.

On Monday, the company confirmed that a handful of clients have asked it to take on the management of several single-opt-in lists. According to salespeople at NetCreations, those clients -- including several in the IT space, such as ZDNet, Techies.com, iEntry and TechTarget.com -- approached the firm about also renting out their additional lists.

"There's a need for B2B names, and it's kind of hard to get them," said one of those salespeople. "Clients [who] were already double-opt-in ... were asking for single-opt-in, so it was kind of an kind of an easy step for us to do."

Though NetCreations president and chief operating officer Michael Mayor said the firm's new lists represent only about 1 percent of the total 450 e-mail lists under management, adding that all but one of its single-opt-in clients were former clients, such a move still represents a sea change in the way NetCreations does business.

Since its inception in 1996, the company and its PostMasterDirect list-rental site had focused exclusively on double-opt-in lists, arguing that they offered higher-quality impressions and brought in higher CPMs from advertisers. Indeed, the NetCreations brand in many minds is synonymous with the management of high-quality lists, thanks in large part to the company's long history of advocating double-opt-in as standard practice for effective online marketing.

On its Web site, the company touts the fact that its double-opt-in lists make PostMasterDirect.com "the Internet's only 100 percent opt-in e-mail marketing network."

"PostMasterDirect.com's double-opt-in process ensures that every individual on our lists is aware that he is going to be receiving commercial e-mail from third parties," the company writes. "Because of the high quality of our lists and service, marketers that have used PostMasterDirect.com have generated response rates as high as 5 to 15 percent and sales as great as $50,000 in a single day."

But Mayor said the new foray into single-opt-in didn't necessarily undermine the company's original position.

"We are still firm believers in [double-opt-in] ... we feel it is the 'high bar' of opt-in lists which are created for the sole purposes of third-party rental," he said. "Also, we have always felt that a [single-opt-in] approach for a marketer's own housefile is perfectly acceptable. (Our beef is with third party compilers who use a [single-opt-in] approach)."

He said that rather than being based purely on market conditions, the firm had begun managing single-opt-in lists chiefly as an added resource for publishers, to better manage all of their lists.

"We first helped them build and manage their double opt-in file," Mayor said. "Then we began to receive many requests from mailers who also wanted to rent their [single-opt-in] housefile as well. Instead of going through two different channels and ordering processes, they now can go through one. This facilitates the merge/purge process as well and ensures the mailer doesn't pay twice for the same name."

"Will [single-opt-in] be bigger?" he said. "Time will tell, but [single-opt-in] will have to turn faster, as it is priced much lower."