As a member of the Direct Marketing Association in South Africa (DMA) I take the marketing rules really seriously. I strongly believe that if someone doesn’t want to be contacted, then we should respect that. There’s really no point to annoy people – bad for the company, bad for the brand and bad for business.
Everyone knows that the new Consumer Protection Act comes with a series of onerous responsibilities for business owners, specifically that if someone subscribes to a National Database (DNC LIST) you are not allowed to contact them. I have no idea what the penalties are going to be, but it makes absolute sense to me to do this.
As yet, there is no government controlled DNC LIST which means everyone is still trying to figure things out until something actually happens. In the mean time, the Direct Marketing Association has always had a DNC LIST for it’s members, which was emailed to us once a month. This works perfectly with Industry standards for email programmes – basically you use an “exclude” system, which tells the software:
Send Email to This person, unless they appear on the DNC LIST.
Unfortunately during April/May there was some idiot who decided to distribute the DNC LIST to a whole bunch of spammers … as you can imagine, a big mess, with loads of people who specifically asked not to receive emails, now getting heaps of emails.
The DMA (who are tendering for the government contract to manage the National Registry) have now decided to handle the list-exclude on their server. Basically this means that I have to regularly upload my list to them, they’ll remove the duplicates and then return the list to me. Sounds fair-enough, except the DMA have decided to use ID Numbers as the exclude criteria (instead of email addresses and/or cellphone numbers). I don’t know about you, but when last did anyone ask you for your ID number when signing up to join a newsletter?
I suspect loads of people are now going to get more spam, even after registering with the DMA because the marketing guys don’t know you’ve unsubscribed – even guys like me, who really don’t want to be spamming you.
I have made contact with the folks at the DMA and they have told me that if I have problems with their system, I need to email them a non-disclosure agreement and a copy of my list, they’ll clean it up and email me the clean list. Besides the fact that my list is about 60MB big – how often do they expect to do this?
Currently the DMA only has a few hundred members. What happens if they win the government contract and you have 100 000 companies who need their list cleaned up?
This is an absolute disaster in my personal opinion. I would have left the system as it was and then nailed the idiot who broke the rules really hard.
Why is there always one idiot who decides to spoil it for everyone else?