|Received:||3/12/2004 12:00:00 AM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
I am an online marketing professional, and design online marketing in a variety of formats including web sites, banners, emails and newsletters. The believe the CAN-SPAM Act is a terrible idea. It's worst flaw is in the creation of a do-not-spam list. Most of what fills a user's inbox is spam which is in some way deceptive. The senders go to great lengths to by-pass any filtering that may be done by a user's or email provider's filters. There is no reason to assume that these marketers will obey this act. All the do-not-spam list will do, is provide them with a list of verified address to which to send their pitches. Another problem with the act is the definition of spam. The definition promoted by the DMA is not the same definition held by users. To a user, spam is anything in their inbox which is unsolicited. Many legitimate companies which aggregate lists of email address to be used for online marketing often use deceptive practices to obtain the user's permission to send advertising to that address. The permission is often gained in long "Terms of Servive" agreements, often cloaked in difficult to understand "legalese". Another practice is to offer a series of screens repeatedly asking for permission, while swapping the position of the "yes" and "no" buttons, so as to encourage a user to accidentally give permission. The result being that a user will unknowingly agree to receive email marketing. They will then receive copious amounts of advertising that they did not want, but still does not fit the DMA's definition of spam, since they agreed to receive it. I have two final, and very telling, comments. This act will make no noticable change in the amount of spam in most users' inboxes, and, knowing what I know as an online marketing professional, I would never put my email onto a do-not-spam list.