|Received:||4/14/2004 2:54:10 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
Re: CAN-SPAM Act Rulemaking, Project No. R411008 To the Commissioners, With the regulations that are presently stipulated in this ACT, many legitimate businesses will be forced to discontinue the email services they offer to their customers. As the owner of an internet business, I provide information through email in the form of an ezine. This ezine is designed to offer information to teach and guide the reader in a particular area of interest. As part of the service, I do offer information on a variety of products that may help the reader. Cross referencing my list of subscribers with a central database will prove to be too much work to make the service viable. My only option would be to make the service a paid-only service, which negates many of the benefits that internet communication has promised. I expected that the central purpose of the ACT was to impose penalties on businesses that do not offer value, and only force their marketing onto the public. I understand that many of these businesses operate as 'affiliates' of another business, which is the reason for defining and tracking the 'origin' of an email message. Because most businesses do not have direct control over their affiliates, the only responsibility to these businesses should be to cancel the affiliate account when the affiliate engages in SPAM marketing. It is the affiliates themselves that should be held accountable for the marketing practices they use in their business. In all cases, tracking the identity of an affiliate may be performed using the 'affiliate code' that is contained within the marketing materials themselves. In short, any business that sends email to only those who have requested to be on a mailing list should be allowed to market to that list as long as the context of the marketing conforms to the nature of the mailing list content, and the subscriber has an easy option to unsubscribe at any time. The law should target those who do not fit this profile. The focus on 'forward to a friend' activity seems ludicrous to me. If I receive a promotional piece that I think a friend of mine would be interested in, I'm not going to log into a central database to see if my friend has requested to not receive any information from this company. I don't see where anyone would forward a message to another unless there was value in doing so. Just because the material is unrequested is not enough to outlaw this activity. If I send a note to a friend of mine, the note is very rarely requested, but is usually appreciated.