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RSS: What's in It for Marketers? (Part 2)

by Eric Frenchman  |  
May 23, 2006

A few weeks ago I started this discussion with part 1. Here's the follow-up.

About two or so years ago, Mike Hogan, my COO and head legal council at Harrisdirect, called me into his office. Mike was concerned about the new anti-spam laws and the requirements surrounding ".ADV" being in the subject line.

Mike muttered at the end of the meeting something like "We'll have to figure out how to get around using email" because it would be nearly impossible to push it out due to phishing.

Phishing? What the heck is that?

Phishing is a huge problem for financial services companies. All you need is some rat to grab a copy of your email, change the links, and redirect to a site where they grab your login information and use it to, say, withdraw money.

Because of phishing, every time there is a problem with your email delivery, you end up scrambling to make sure you weren't phished.

I devised a way around communicating with customers by dropping a cookie on them. When they logged into the site (and then when my ad server BlueStreak saw them on our Internet advertising buy), we would serve them retention banner ads instead of acquisition ads.

Mike gave me a look that told me, "That's clever, but now go figure something else out."

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Eric Frenchman is an online marketing and advertising consultant in New Jersey and chief internet strategist for the online political agency Connell Donatelli ( He is a frequent contributor to the daily MarketingProfs blog, the Daily Fix (, and writes his own marketing blog (

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