Direct Marketing Association
E-Mail Preference Service
Request For Proposals
1. Instructions for Preparing Your Proposal
Following are the instructions for preparing the Direct Marketing Association's Request for Proposals (RFP), dated March 26, 1997, to create and implement The DMA's e-Mail Preference Service (e-MPS). These instructions are provided to potential bidders for preparing a proposal responding to The DMA's requirements. It is important to follow these specific instructions to avoid additional effort and to ensure full and complete consideration of your proposal.
Founded in 1917, the Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) is the largest trade association for businesses and organizations interested in direct marketing and database marketing. A long-time champion of consumer choice, The DMA historically has sought to ensure that consumers are afforded opportunities both to learn about products and services of interest to them through direct response channels and to express their preferences regarding marketers' collection, use, and dissemination of information about them.
The sole purpose of this RFP is to solicit proposals from potential bidders for designing, developing, testing, implementing, and operating/maintaining a service that will enable U.S. and international consumers to opt-out of receiving unsolicited commercial e-mail. The service will be loosely modeled after The DMA's existing services that enable consumers to reduce the amount of national advertising mail and telephone marketing calls they receive at home. The DMA's requirements for the e-MPS are more fully set forth in this RFP.
3. Cost of Proposal Preparation
The DMA will not pay any costs incurred in the preparation or submission of the proposal or to purchase any supplies or services. The DMA anticipates negotiating and awarding a contract to the successful bidder based on The DMA's evaluation of the proposals. However, The DMA reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to amend or cancel this RFP and not to award any contract for the e-MPS.
4. Required Date and Address for Proposal Submissions
All proposals must be received by The DMA no later than close of business May 5, 1997, at The DMA's office located at the following address: Direct Marketing Association, 1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 1100, Washington, D.C. 20036-3603, Attention: Patricia Faley, Vice President for Consumer Affairs. Please direct all inquiries to Patricia Faley at 202.955.5030 (Phone); 202.955.0085 (FAX); or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Your proposal shall be valid for at least 120 days after the due date stated above. If a validity date is not stated, the 120-day period shall apply.
6. Type and Estimated Date of Contract
If an award is made pursuant to the requirements of this RFP, the type of contract anticipated is firm fixed price. It is anticipated that any contract resulting from this RFP will be negotiated and awarded on or before 120 days from the due date of proposals.
7. DMA Furnished Materials - Data and Services
If in the bidder's opinion, it is necessary for The DMA to furnish any materials, parts, data, or services in addition to those specified in the Requirements Section of this RFP, you are required to furnish full descriptions showing types and quantities required, dates by which required, and the reasons for the need.
8. Proposal Evaluation Criteria
Proposals shall be evaluated by The DMA on the following criteria:
The above factors are not necessarily listed in order of evaluation importance.
9. Contract Award
The DMA will negotiate and award a contract resulting from this RFP to the responsible bidder whose offer conforming to this RFP will be the most advantageous to The DMA, with cost or price, and other factors specified in this RFP, considered. The DMA may: (1) reject any and all offers; (2) accept other than the lowest offer; and (3) waive informalities and minor irregularities in offers received. It is anticipated that the resultant contract will be for a multi-year period, subject to extension by mutual agreement of the parties.
10. Management/Technical/Cost/Capabilities Proposal
Your proposal must contain the following sections:
In each case they may indicate their selections of from one to five categories of e-mail they have declined to receive and their language preference. Assume that each entry is to be stored for five (5) years. Also assume that the number of consumers adding their names and e-mail addresses to this service each month will range from 30,000 to 90,000 and the number of consumer names e-mail addresses deleted each month will also range from 30,000 to 90,000. In some unusual circumstances, however, the successful bidder could receive a sudden high influx of names e-mail addresses over a short period of time, which would far surpass that number.
Separate price data shall be submitted separately for each of the e-MPS elements: (i) design; (ii) development and testing; (iii) implementation and testing; and (iv) operation/maintenance. A narrative description also should be included for each e-MPS element of the effort, to include an explanation of the categories of effort, the functions performed, and a discussion of assumptions made in arriving at the price bid. The (i) design; (ii) development and testing; and (iii) implementation and testing phases should be priced on a fixed-price basis to be paid upon the satisfactory completion of each phase, and (iv) the operation/maintenance phase should be priced on a fixed price per record basis. Although The DMA anticipates that any contract awarded for the e-MPS will be on a firm fixed-price basis as described above, The DMA also will consider and evaluate alternative pricing methods (e.g., fixed price plus incentive fee for performance indicators such as early completion or processing turnaround times, and volume pricing, discounts, etc.).
Section 8. Page Limit. The proposal submitted should not exceed twenty-five (25) pages. Other attachments may be included with no guarantee of review.
11. Restriction on Disclosure and Use of Data
A bidder, who does not want its proposal data disclosed to the public for any purpose or used by The DMA except for evaluation purposes, shall mark the title page of the proposal with the following legend:
This proposal includes data that shall not be disclosed outside The DMA and shall not be duplicated, used, or disclosed -- in whole or in part -- for any purpose other than to evaluate this proposal. If, however, a contract is awarded to the bidder as a result of or in connection with the submission of this proposal, The DMA shall have the right to duplicate use, or disclose the data to the extent provided in the resultant contract. This restriction does not limit The DMA's right to use the information contained in this data if it is obtained from another source without restriction.
In addition, each page of data the bidder wishes to restrict will be marked with the following legend:
Bidders are hereby on notice that The DMA anticipates that the successful bidder will have access to data and information that The DMA considers proprietary when performing the e-MPS effort. Further, The DMA will require that any resultant contract will include terms and conditions that will require the successful bidder to take reasonable measures to protect, safeguard and not disclose or use such data without written authorization from The DMA or appropriate parties. Further, The DMA shall, at all times, retain for all purposes all ownership rights and title in The DMA e-MPS custom software and data, including, but not limited to, all trade secrets, copyrights, brand names, computer source code, technical or business data, and all e-MPS user and subscriber information, whether provided by The DMA to the successful bidder or generated in the performance of the e-MPS resultant contract. Further, the system data should be designed and maintained in such a manner that it is portable to another vendor.
12. Performance Schedule and e-MPS Phases
The e-MPS effort will be required to be performed in accordance with the following minimum schedule:
13. e-MPS Requirements
(a) Background of The DMA
The DMA is the largest trade association for businesses interested in direct marketing, which includes the use of databases. The DMA represents more than 3,000 United States corporations as well as 600 corporations from 49 other countries. The DMA members use all media to reach their customers and prospectsómail, telephone, direct response TV, radio, home shopping networks, as well as cyberspace. A study conducted by The WEFA Group found that in 1996 American consumers purchased more than $600 billion in goods and services, and American businesses purchased more than $500 billion in goods and services, via direct response (all media).
Over three decades, The DMA has initiated an array of consumer protection and education programs. Among them, The DMA adopted guidelines for ethical business practice and established a peer review committee to respond to cases of alleged guideline violations brought to its attention. It published and distributed in 25 countries the DMA Fair Information Practices Manual -- a step-by-step "how to" manual designed to assist businesses in developing and implementing companies' policies and procedures on the use of information about consumers. And it established the Mail Preference Service and Telephone Preference Service, which are offered free of charge to give consumers the ability to remove their names individually from the lists of major marketers, which reduces the amount of advertising mail and telephone marketing calls consumers receive at home. In 1996, it founded an International Federation of Direct Marketing Associations to coordinate, in part, the development of self-regulatory guidelines for the practices of direct marketing worldwide, including the establishment and coordination of national Mail Preference Services.
While direct marketers are new to the business of marketing online, The DMA has established a dialogue with its members, policy makers, and cyber consumers about marketing in the new media. It has disseminated to its members privacy principles developed jointly with the Interactive Services Association, participated in Federal Trade Commission workshops, and used its Web site (www.the-dma.org) as a vehicle for consumer and business education. For example, The DMA established a parents' page on its Web site with hyperlinks to the sites of software vendors offering programs that enable parents to take a more active role over what their children view and do on the Internet. The DMA also has developed a "how to" package on its Web site that enables marketers to easily create and download accurate and effective privacy notices for their Web sites.
(b) Existing Services of The DMA - MPS/TPS Background
Although e-MPS is not required to operate the same way, it is helpful to examine briefly the current Mail Preference Service (MPS) and Telephone Preference Service (TPS) in order to better understand The DMA's requirements for an e-MPS. The DMA established the MPS name removal file in 1971 to provide consumers with an opportunity to have their names removed from many national mailing lists. The DMA established TPS, a companion service, in 1985 to answer increased consumer complaints and regulatory concerns regarding the use of the telephone to market goods and services. Consumers are not charged for registering with MPS or TPS.
Consumers register with MPS or TPS by postal mail. They register directly; third-party requests are not processed because it is important that each consumer has clearly made his or her own choice to reduce their mail or calls. Typically, consumers will notice a decrease in their volume of mail or number of calls approximately three months to four months after their names are entered into the MPS/TPS systems. Consumer names remain on MPS/TPS for five years.
When consumers register with MPS/TPS, their names are placed on a name-removal file and they receive a post card acknowledgment. This "do not mail" or "do not call" file is made available to business and non-profit subscribers on either a monthly or quarterly basis.
Subscribers receive a "master" MPS and/or TPS magnetic tape or CD-ROM in January of each year. The January tape or CD-ROM is complete, containing the names of all consumers registered with the services. Upon receipt of the January file, all tapes and CD-ROM's from the previous year are discarded. The January file is cleaned of all records over five years old. Each subsequent quarterly and monthly tape contains only those consumers' names and addresses added during that month or quarter. Businesses subscribing mid-year receive the complete file plus updates.
List owners should use MPS/TPS before releasing any lists for rental or exchange. A company that receives a rental list which has not been run against MPS/TPS should do so before mailing. Many companies also use MPS/TPS through service bureaus. Service bureaus often run MPS and TPS automatically against client tapes and either delete or tag MPS and TPS matches. Also, companies often compare MPS/TPS names to their own customer lists, and add those names to their own in-house name suppression lists.
The DMA guards against unauthorized use of the name-removal file through several means. First, before receiving the MPS or TPS files, potential subscribers are required to sign contractual provisions limiting use of the services to name-removal purposes only. Second, both MPS and TPS are protected by sophisticated decoy systems designed to detect any misuse or unauthorized access.
Currently, American companies can obtain Mail Preference Service files for other countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Similarly, foreign marketers can make arrangements to use the Mail Preference Service of the United States for suppression purposes. These arrangements are made possible because of an international agreement among the direct marketing associations of the respective countries.
(c) Requirements for e-MPS
The e-MPS will provide a service that enables individual consumers to decide to reduce significantly the amount of unsolicited commercial e-mail. The successful bidder will be required to:
Data protection and security must be an important emphasis in all three elements.
(1) Registration and Acknowledgment
The registration and acknowledgment process shall consist of at least two steps -- registration and verification. Consumers will get the information on how to register either at The DMA Web site or via e-mail or by other means, for example, press reports, fact sheets, or by mail or phone. The registration forms must be secure in storage and maintenance, and transmission of data should be accomplished using secure means.
Consumers will register by providing their e-mail address, their language preference, their opt-out selections, and their name and address. The preferred method of registration will be online, but a small number of registrations may be accomplished by mail or phone. The opt-out selections will include from three categories to five categories of unsolicited commercial e-mail that the consumer may choose not to receive when registering. Consumers' registration then will be verified. Possible methods of verification could include sending consumers a registration acknowledgment via e-mail, which would include a restatement of the opt-out category selections, the e-MPS policies and several reminders (e.g., that e-mail addresses must be updated for e-MPS to be effective) and a special code or PIN number. The consumer might then verify their request by sending a return acknowledgment including the PIN. It is anticipated that the registration process would be accomplished quickly and, in no event take longer than one week, subject to a timely consumer response.
(2) Data Maintenance
The registration information will then be forwarded through secure means to the successful bidder's data maintenance center. Data maintenance will include elimination of duplicate records and checking of e-mail addresses to confirm that they are still valid. It may also include deleting addresses that are more than five years old. The e-MPS data is then transferred through secure means to the successful bidder's data distribution system.
(3) Data Distribution
The data distribution system will be responsible for distributing or otherwise allowing access to the e-MPS data to authorized e-mail marketers. It is critical that the distribution of e-MPS data be done by secure means and the recommended means of security should be described by the bidder. The encrypted e-MPS data will be accessible via electronic transfer to parties with a valid password. Subscribers will be able to access complete files or updates, which they would be expected to use before each e-mail campaign or often enough to ensure that they are being responsive to consumer requests. Since use would be encouraged, we would anticipate no additional cost, penalties or other barriers to frequent e-mail marketer usage. Contracting for subscription arrangements for all e-mail marketer subscribers will be the sole responsibility of The DMA.
The successful bidder must provide quarterly reports to The DMA concerning the various activities and data for the e-MPS. These quarterly reports will include, at a minimum: (i) the Inventory Control Report to include the beginning number of names and e-mail addresses, additions, deletions, and the ending number of names and e-mail addresses in the file in total and for each of the opt-out categories; (ii) the Usage Report to estimate usage of the file and will include the numberof different organizations requesting the file, as well as the recency and frequency of such requests; (iii) the Security Report providing information on complaints and any instances of misuse or unauthorized access; and (iv) the Performance Report detailing the processing and turnaround times on e-mail-marketer subscriber registrations and data distribution files. The successful bidder must provide physical and electronic access by The DMA's outside auditors to the files and supporting data for the above required reports.
There will be other ongoing maintenance activities in the operation of e-MPS by the successful bidder. For example, the registered consumers may be periodically reminded of their status and furnished with an opportunity to remove their e-mail addresses from e-MPS. In addition, the successful bidder also will be responsible while operating the system to detect any misuse or unauthorized access through decoy or other acceptable systems. For these and other reasons, it would be desirable to consolidate all of the e-MPS functions so as to enable consumers to register directly with the entity responsible for data maintenance and distribution.
To further international cooperation in the implementation of the e-MPS objective, The DMA expects to work with other DMAs around the world in their efforts to provide e-MPS-type services. The successful bidder for e-MPS will consider the language needs of the consumer, and will provide a reasonable number of language options for the consumer as part of the registration process.
14. Key Issue Areas
In addition to the above requirements, it is important that the successful bidder, consider and address the following key issues:
Return to The DMA Home Page
Although the Internet offers consumers many new and exciting opportunities, some parents would like more control over what their children view and do online. To assist parents in providing a kid-friendly Internet for their children, there are several software packages available. In addition, there are organizations that compile lists of child-safe sites for your family to visit.
In a report published by the Federal Trade Commission, several child protection technologies were noted. These technologies let parents take an active role in ensuring that their children have a safe and enjoyable online experience. The sites mentioned in the FTC report, along with hyperlinks, can be found below. For a description of what each of these can do click here.
InterGo Communications http://www.intergo.com
Net Nanny http://www.netnanny.com
Net Shepherd http://www.shepherd.net
Parental Guidance http://www.PGuidance.com
Specs for Kids http://www.newview.com/specs_home.html
Some other sites not included in the FTC Report:
Tattle Tale http://www.pond.com/~pearlsft
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Copyright © 1997 Direct Marketing Association, Inc.