|Received:||4/20/2004 10:17:47 AM|
|State:||Not in the US|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
I am responding in my capacity as Chairman of BestPrac.Org - a well established and respected globally focused anti-spam organisation. You may contact me directly with any questions at *REDACTED PERSONAL INFORMATION* (this address NOT FOR PUBLICATION) Re Q.A:3 - Any email that is not a personal email, and is sent to more than one recipient (whether sent by a business, individual, govt or non-profit entity) should be deemed to be commercial, except where they fit the definition of "transactional or relational" emails. Re Q.C:1 - Ten days is ridiculously long. Mailing list software is readily and cheaply available to automatically process unsubscribe requests instantly. It is probably fair that leniency should be given for new businesses, particularly home based internet marketers, who cannot yet afford automated systems and must process REMOVE requests manually. Even 48 hours would be a very generous allowance for such a task. Re Q.D:1 - Yes. The use of non-transparent proxies, whether authorised or not, so that the IP of the originating computer is hidden or otherwise not concealed or not revealed. Re: Q.E1:1 Probably the main, maybe even the only, definition of "multiple senders" should be where a third party (a hired agent, for example) sends an email on behalf of another. It should definitely NOT include be so strict as to make Affilate Program Managers deemed to be a joint-sender of an email sent by an affiliate, except where the Affiliate Program Manager requested or initiated the mailing. Some recent comments around the 'net have suggested such a broad definition, which BestPrac.Org believes to be well-meaning but totally and unrealistically impractical. Re Q.E1:2 No offence or breach should be recognised, provided the sender isn't the very same party or directly related party using a "back door" to get around the opt-out request.... It is unrealistic and commercial nonsense to expect legitimate arm's length affiliates of a product, for example, to be prohibited from sending one of their OWN independently written emails (such as an email newsletter) to a genuinely voluntarily opt-in audience, just because it contains an advertisement or editorial content about a product of which they are a genuine affiliate of which a recipient may have opted out from someone else's emails (which could be for a hundred OTHER reasons, anyway, such as simply changing email addresses, or did not want to receive HTML emails, or were opting out of all DAILY email lists due to information overload but retaining any weekly mailing list subscriptions.) Re Q.E1:3 Comments for this have been largely given in my answers for E1:1 & E1:2 Re Q.E2:4 Providing that no list is created when such a "tell-a-friend" email is sent, the email should be a one-off with no further unsolicited follow-up. Accordingly, there is nothing to "opt out" from. The nature of such an email is more personal, or transactional. Comment re SUPPRESION LISTS. As a globally focused anit-spam organisation, we have a serious concern about the use of suppression lists. Some of these include: * An opt-out request does not necessarily imply the recipient requesting removal wants to be permanently suppressed. They may, for example, be going on a holiday for a few months andd just want to stop a newsletter subscription for a while - then re-subscribe when they return. * There have been many prior "private initiatives" at operating REMOVE lists. Email marketers were encouraged to download a list of email addresses to parse against their own lists to remove people who have registered to be removed from unsolicited messages..... This is highly DANGEROUS and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. Give a bad guy access to a list of names, and you can be sure that someone (many someones) will abuse the list. * For the reasons given above, genuine arms-length affiliates should NEVER have access to the suppression lists of other companies - even those they advertise.