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I notice that some games I bought at one point asked me for my email address (to register an account of sorts), and from then on, every month, or everytime there are new games out by them, they send out mails to me.

Ostensibly, it seems to be quite an effective way to keep your users in touch. But I suppose this would only work if you have a valid excuse for getting email address from the users (e.g for account setups).

I was thinking of using incentives (such as bonus functionality in-game) to beg for user's emails, but after that, what is the easiest way to keep track of their email addresses, and to send them a mail? What software can do that for you easily?

Also, is there web services for this? Not sure how much I'd trust web services not to harvest the mails instead though.

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I think you should be more precise about how this would be different from spam. –  Sam Hocevar Mar 7 '11 at 17:29
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Spam is unsolicited. This question is "How can I make users solicit my emails?" –  user744 Mar 7 '11 at 18:07
    
Yes, but if you send the user stuff he didn't gave his e-mail for (e.g. he needs to create an online account to play the game, then you send him advertisement for unrelated stuff to that address), then I'd consider that SPAM. –  bummzack Mar 7 '11 at 19:08
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Only if you didn't offer a checkbox at registration time, and don't offer a clear way to unsubscribe (e.g. a link at the bottom of the email). Let's be honest, corporate newsletters can be annoying, but they are not anywhere close to a significant amount of spam in today's inboxes, and if the corporation is actually serious about their sales, they're trivial to stop getting. –  user744 Mar 7 '11 at 21:19
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't always agree with him or his conclusions, but Seth Godin literally wrote the book on this, Permission Marketing.

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Link in a username to be the person's email.

So a non-registered person can play the game but isn't able to save, but a registered person can. Maybe limiting the user to X levels if non-registered too, which would still give the user a taste for the game.

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