|Received:||4/20/2004 3:27:00 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
E1, Question 2: I think if this situation occurs, a company's business practices need to be evaluated. If these companies are employing responsible business practices, but perhaps there was an error in communicating the opt-out requests, then there should be no penalty. If a company is clearly acting irresponsibly or in malice, and not maintaining opt-out files, then it is clear that there is a violation and should be penalized accordingly. When all is said and done- SPAM is like pornography in that it is not easily defined, but you know it when you see it. If a business is employing reasonable and responsible practices, it is easy to see, and prove. Email marketing gainfully employs hundreds of thousands of people, and has a direct impact on many other industries, including telecom. Most marketers comply fully with the law- they pay taxes- and supports thousands of families. People buy products from these companies- and they wouldn't exist if the public didn't respond to these email messages. Email marketing embodies the grass roots nature of the internet- it is very American in that it allows an entrepreneur with a few dollars for promotion to compete with a conglomerate with millions of dollars for promotion. It is a young but growing industry that can be reasonably self regulated, and is more and more self regulated as it comes of age. I would feel incredibly disappointed to lose this business to overseas spammers. Email as a commercial medium will continue to exist; the question is, will Americans benefit from the fruits of their labor, or will this also need to be exported offshore?