|Received:||4/14/2004 8:53:05 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
HUGE numbers of small business owners operate online and depend upon email to stay in touch with customers, deliver product, send subscription newsletters, etc., including the great numbers who may not be able to earn a sufficient living in the general work force. This helps the U.S. economy in terms of increased flow of cash and increased tax revenues. These legitimate businesses are not the perpetrators of SPAM. I don't believe the Act was designed to hurt this type of legitimate home commerce, but to curtail SPAM. These business owners generally run true opt-in lists and/or newsletters that give opt-out directions in every issue. Opt-out requests are honored. Most of these email newsletters are ad supported. This particular business model has been used almost universally in the world of paper periodical publications and should not be considered as SPAM. Both suppression lists and a “Do Not E-mail” Registry would bring financial hardships resulting in many of these online business owners going out of business. Especially in the case of affiliate programs. The logistics of trying to comply with either of these concepts would literally shut down affiliate programs. There is just no way to be able to ensure that a "do not mail" sent to one program affiliate is communicated to and complied with by every affiliate. The risks of a mistake happening are just too great - most affiliate product owners just won't take the risk. They will close the programs. We would like for newsletters using affirmative consent opt-in requests to be considered as relationship or transactional email messages and not considered the “commercial email” the Act is intended to control. We would like for newsletters using affirmative consent opt-in requests to be exempted from the provisions of the Act.