I just got a spam from Sony. I promptly clicked on unsubscribe and was taken to their website. I clicked the submit button which resulted in this: "Please allow 30 to 45 days for your preferences to take effect. Thank you." [emphasis mine, of course]
UPDATE: I'm going to keep track of how many spams I get after I've unsubscribed:
Read the 1 comments.
That's not as outrageous as it might otherwise seem. I used to work for a company that bid on Sony's privacy management project, and the timeframe you mention isn't much out of line with the best we could do.
What you're not allowing for is that Sony is a huge company with literally hundreds of different consumer marketing databases internally. Many of their divisions used to be seperate companies. It would be unreasonable to expect Sony Pictures and the Playstation division to run their business off the same database, so you can't just change your preferences in one place. Talking about internal databases doesn't even begin to take into account all of the third party vendors that might be getting paid to run promotions of some sort or another for Sony at any given time.
We didn't get the contract, but I did spend a lot of time working up a technical approach to gathering in the data from all of the databases, scrubbing everyone that asked not to be marketed to anymore, and fanning all of that back out to all of the different databases that needed to see it.
By the time all of the individual database feeds were delivered consolidated and sent back out based on their own operating schedules, I think I decided we could guarantee a name would be processed in 30 days. I guarantee you we would have padded that as 4-6 weeks in the description. Whoever eventually got the contract may be adding a bit more padding, or they may just not be able to make it happen as fast as we could have -- we had some pretty purpose specific tools to apply.
I *will* tell you that everyone at Sony was definitely operating out of enlightened self interest - it's easier to sell product to customers that aren't pissed at you. Whatever their motives though, they were putting some serious cash and effort into making it work correctly. That's something 90% of the clients I worked with on similar marketing efforts can't say.