Alright, let's get started. I read a post at Return Path that made me think. The practice of using a true opt-in (or double opt-in) is a practice that I very much agree with.
What really caught my eye was at the end.
And I think many marketers still resist anything that reduces the size of the file. If you offer any marketer a million records that are untargeted vs. 100,000 highly targeted records, most of us will go for the million every time.
This is an attitude that I've run into. And, it's an attitude that is going to hold marketers back significantly as consumers continue to fragment. The channels to pursue are going to be the 100,000 ones and if you're looking for 1 million it's not going to be there.
You can see this happening already on social networks like MySpace and facebook. You hear about the millions of people that have signed up, with thousands more people signing up each month. But, when companies put up a page about themselves to try reaching the entire population... well it doesn't often work out.
So the question is, why are casting such a wide net? One reason could be that metrics, even online, just look better when they're big. Bigger email lists, larger visitor counts, more ad impressions all add up to metrics that look impressive.
Of course, Web analytics is getting more sophisticated. But that's for another post.