Although Vertical Response can't force customers to use tools like double opt-in to create their address collections (someone requests to be on the list, then get an e-mail asking them to repeat their request), the company strongly encourages such care. And it will ask customers questions if they see something suspicious like an uploaded file called "cheap CD address list."
Mailing services generally follow one of two pricing models. One model allows customers to mail as much as they want, and the service charges by the number of names on the master list. Vertical Response allows you to keep as many names as you want in your database, and only charges for messages sent. You can easily pick and choose sublists for certain mailings.
Popick says Vertical Response is more flexible. "We don't want to penalize people for increasing the number of names on their list, and we don't charge for storing that information. But we're also working on subscription pricing for customers who need that."
Vertical Response offers marketing and training information for customers, and forces employees to watch the videos and read the material as well. But lucky for the customers, only the employees have to take written tests to make sure they understand their job in specific and mail marketing in general.
Unlike many services, Vertical Response also offers physical mail options with two sizes of postcards for mail campaigns. It is expanding into event management, with special tools to help launch retail sales and events at restaurants. The company works, often behind the scenes, with other partners besides NetBooks.
In an automated world, Vertical Response also uses the best filter mechanism of all to monitor for spam and help their customers: people. "One or more actual humans look at probably 80 per cent of campaigns to ensure there's no spam and to verify compliance."
If you're still sending mail campaigns from Outlook or some other do-it-yourself option, you might want to take a look at a service alternative. For the price of e-mail, you can get good marketing lessons and help from a company that does it for a living. Done right, you can send more mail, do more marketing, and suffer less hassle than you imagine.