Alan Chapell

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

One way to gain more ad dollars is to ramp up ad targeting, which both companies have done over the past few weeks. But while Twitter is playing it safe, Facebook is pushing the envelope with new tools that could bring the Web equivalent of junk mail to your Facebook page. Most Americans are accustomed to the rules of engagement for direct mail, which is very much an offline practice. But Facebook is allowing its big advertisers to match the email addresses and phone numbers they've collected with profiles matching that data.

Keeping track of trends in behavioral targeting is a study in contradictions. While businesses are wary of controversy, they're crowding into this space of tracking consumer behavior. And while consumers dread being tracked online, they resist barriers to "free" content. Here to clear up a few misconceptions and provide an update on the contested but increasingly popular practice are...

By Alan Chapell As we all know, spam continues to be the scourge of the e-mail marketing business. It frustrates consumers because it clogs their inboxes with useless and fraudulent messages. And it creates a different headache for marketers. Spam harms consumer trust in e-mail as a medium, and that means fewer people are willing to provide their e-mail addresses to any organization—even those trying to market the right way. The direct marketing industry has provided consumers with many tools to help fight spam—filters, Sender ID, etc. But we haven't always done enough to help consumers determine which Web sites will use the

By Alan Chapell "Data, data, who's got the data," a for-mer boss used to say with regularity. There's no doubt that data is the lifeblood of the direct marketing industry. And with what seems like a never ending wave of data breaches and other assorted scandals, it may be time to reassess the way many of us are using data to run our businesses. There's a train a comin' my friends. And it's time to get on board as we move into a new era in direct marketing. There's a good deal of bile being directed at the large data aggregators by some of

When it comes to prospecting with compiled lists, it's imperative that the data used to create them are accurate. "All data on a file is subject to scrutiny to ensure the overall integrity of the information," write ALC of New York LLC's Andy Ostroy and Margaret Iadeluca in their article "Sleuthing Compiled Lists." This comment could just as easily pertain to the scandal surrounding data broker ChoicePoint's sale of sensitive personal information to criminals who posed as legitimate business owners. One of the sticking points for privacy advocates and some congressmen investigating the need for tighter data protection is that not only do

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