|Received:||3/30/2004 5:53:25 PM|
|Organization:||Haley Marketing Group|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
While I applaud the efforts to stem the tide of SPAM, I am gravely concerned about the direction the regulations appear to be heading. Specifically: 1. The determination of what is commercial e-mail is too subjective. None of the methods of evaluating messages appear to be perfect. Many legitimate e-mails will falsely be classified as SPAM placing the sender, and often the companies they work for, at unfair risk. 2. The implementation of National Do Not E-mail list would be extraordinarily costly and invite a rash of unanticipated lawsuits. For example, would I as an employer be required to monitor or filter every e-mail my employees send, including those to personal friends? Who will pay for that expense? How will employees react to their loss of privacy? And if they send e-mail to a friend at work, can that company them sue our company for sending SPAM? While I know the intent of the changes is to stop the spammers, it's the legitimate business owner and individuals who will bear the cost. 3. In regard to forward to a friend campaigns, I do not think they should be governed by regulation. The problem is defining what is spam. If a friend forwards me a joke, or news about a product he really likes, is that spam? Should my friend (or the company that made the product) then be liable for sending unsolicited e-mail? It just doesn't make sense. The Internet was designed to facilitate communication, and efforts, while well intentioned, that restrict our ability communicate are not a good idea. 4. Will any of these measures actually limit the true spammers who are working outside the United States? Or will we mainly be punishing US businesses by raising the costs of communication and reducing our GDP? 5. As an alternative to Do Not e-mail, how about establishing a national "qualified e-mailers" list instead. These would be companies that pass certain criteria and would have their information "white listed" with all ISPs to ensure delivery. ISPs could simply block companies not on the white list which would make most marketers work very dilligently to follow proper e-mail marketing practices. Given that it appears that many of the companies that are being most negatively impacted by SPAM are working on innovative solutions right now, it would appear to be prudent to withhold new legislation to see what the outcome of the technology changes will bring. I am very optimistic that the problem can be solved without legislation.