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Because it works. General e-commerce practice. The value of an email address is incredibly high. It's a very strong signal of interest and allows a business to reach out to you with new product offerings, receive feedback etc. Without it, you're just a session on the site and not much else and doesn't lead to much actionable data.

I understand the value of an email address; I dispute the fact that it "works". Maybe it helps collect more email addresses than before, but the cost is bugging the hell out of every single visitor: is it worth it?

In my books it's an instant reason to not visit any website that does it. I also feel that the people who do give out their email address within the first 15 seconds of visiting a website are probably not likely to use their real e-mail address, or likely to unsubscribe just as quickly as they gave it out.

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