In my opinion, this is unethical behavior. I wanted to give you all a heads up. I was contacted by a rep at this company called Consumerbase. They offer a service called "Super responder". To me this sounds like Gator/Whenu, but in email form. It's basically a way to overshadow your competitors’ emails.
The representative that I was talking to actually sent me an email stating:
The Super Responder is a method of marketing that targets consumers in real time. We have new technology that allows us to put your offer in front of consumers that have responded to your competitors offer or an offer in our 48 categories in the last 30 seconds! This is the most qualified lead possible.
I'm sure that this is a very effective way to get sales and/or to funnel the competitions clients into your database. I told our rep that we didn't agree with sending an email to our competitions emails (despite its financial benefits) because it was unethical.
FYI-here's how it works:
1-First email is deployed to email recipient
2-Recipient opens first email
3-New email (spawned by super responder) to the same consumer within 60 seconds of viewing original offer
If I had paid money to send out an email campaign, then I would be pretty mad to have it overshadowed. This company is actually offering an email campaign service, and then selling another company the ability to overwrite the first campaign (in most cases without them knowing that this would be done). Email conversions are already pretty low, so my guess is that this is going to really hurt the email campaign aspect of on-line marketing.
I hope this makes sense. As with all sly services, it can be somewhat hard to describe them by discussion post.