NEWS3 June 2011

German research regulator raps email marketing firm

Europe News

GERMANY— Germany’s research regulator has issued a statement reprimanding US-based email marketing firm European Online Marketing Agency.

The firm is accused by the board of arbitration for German market and social research of using surveys to conduct promotional activity — a practice known as ‘sugging’ (selling under the guise of research) or ‘mugging’ (marketing under the guise of research).

The board said that EOMA, which is based in Colorado and operates in Germany under the name HQ Mail, had made a serious breach of its rule requiring the separation of research from non-research activity.

The regulator said it was issuing its most severe sanction because of the “many” recipients who felt inconvenienced by the survey emails and the potential damage to the reputation of the country’s research industry.

In an effort to protect the industry’s image, the board, which is part of research association ADM, issues reprimands to any company operating in Germany that is deemed to have breached its rules – regardless of whether it is an ADM member or whether it resides in Germany.

EOMA had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.