Under threat from spam laws, the list manager looks to put its clients' double opt-in lists to use for market research.
E-mail list provider NetCreations announced on Monday the launch of a new arm devoted to market research, as the company deals with potential fallout from California's new anti-spam bill.
The new unit, SurveyDirect, will use NetCreations' double opt-in email database, made up of lists it manages for publishers and others, to provide market-research services to companies. According to the company, it has 40 million names in its database. Out of the 40 million, 3 million have opted-in for surveys, with segmentation based on interests, gender, age, occupation and geographic region. The new division will roll out tools devoted exclusively to surveys, including a distinct sign-up form.
"One of the verticals that really embraced the promise of email marketing was market research," said Michael Mayor, NetCreations' chief executive. "They have their own needs separate from direct marketers."
NetCreations said it already provides market-research services for about 50 companies. The new arm complements its email advertising business, PostMasterDirect, which rents its clients' lists of email addresses to third parties.
That business was thrown for a loop earlier this month with the passage of anti-spam legislation in California. The law, which begins Jan. 1, forbids email marketing in situations where an advertiser does not have the "direct consent" of a consumer.
"I think it could be very serious," Mayor said. "The way it's written there's no third-party prospecting into or out of California."
Mayor said about a million of PostMasterDirect's email addresses are from the state, and another undetermined number do not include geographic information.
While the survey business may be immune from the new California law, NetCreations' lawyers were still trying to determine its legal stance under the new provisions.
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