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Largest U.S. Advertising and Marketing Trade Groups Release Guidelines That Establish Standards for Legitimate E-mail Marketing Practices
AAAA, ANA, DMA Effort Underscores Broad Industry Commitment to Distinguish and Eradicate Spam from the Legitimate and Growing E-Marketplace
NEW YORK, October 14, 2003 - Based on direct input from members, The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today released a set of nine guidelines that call on marketers to institute certain practices that will defend and enhance the viability of legitimate e-mail marketing.
The associations involved in this groundbreaking joint effort are the largest industry trade groups representing marketers and advertisers in the United States. Their members include the majority of household-name American and global brands.
The nine self-regulatory guidelines are as follows:
1. The subject line of an e-mail must be honest and not misleading or deceptive.
2. A valid return e-mail address and the physical address of the sender should be clearly identified. Marketers are encouraged to use their company or brand names in their domain address and prominently throughout the message.
3. An e-mail should clearly identify the sender and the subject matter at the beginning of the e-mail.
4. All commercial e-mail (except for billing purposes) must provide consumers with a clear and conspicuous electronic option to be removed from lists for future e-mail messages from the sender. The removal process must be easy to find and easy to use.
5. If a company sending commercial e-mail has multiple distinct brands or affiliates, notice and opt-out should be provided based on the likely perspective of the average consumer. Each separate brand or affiliate, as the consumer is likely to perceive it, must offer notice and a process for removal from marketing lists in all commercial e-mails (except for billing purposes).
6. Marketers should not acquire e-mail addresses surreptitiously through automated mechanisms (such as robots or spiders) without the consumer / customer’s informed consent. This includes a prohibition on dictionary attacks or other mechanisms for fabricating e-mail addresses without providing notice and choice to the consumer.
7. "Remove" means "Remove." The electronic remove feature must be reliable, functional, and prompt.
8. E-mail lists must not be sold or provided to unrelated third parties unless the owner of the list has provided notice and the ability to be removed from such transfer to each e-mail address on the list. Related third parties include other brands/subsidiaries within the same parent company as well as outside affinity partners as a reasonable consumer is likely to perceive them.
"Today’s landmark announcement reflects our shared belief that stamping out spam requires a multi-pronged approach," said O. Burtch Drake, President and CEO of the AAAA. "In addition to technological innovations, and much-needed federal legislation, we are asking advertising agencies to abide by a stringent set of self-regulatory practices for legitimate, responsible, and consumer-friendly businesses."
Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, added: "Right now, ‘consumer tune-out’ with various forms of advertising and communication is at its peak. In particular, there is substantial consumer pushback with spam. Our members – the nation’s leading advertisers and marketers – are concerned that spam is killing the potential and promise of e-mail marketing. We are asking corporate marketers to abide by tough marketing guidelines so that consumers can easily differentiate between legitimate e-mail marketing messages and spam."
"We believe that spam is one of the most significant threats to the future development of the Internet. There is a consensus in our industry that spam is an ever-growing problem that needs to be eradicated not just to protect consumers, but brands and businesses as well," said H. Robert Wientzen, president and CEO, The DMA. "The practices we released today build on the cornerstone of the Anti-Spam Working Strategy we developed earlier this year. This, combined with our recently announced industry/law enforcement effort, will significantly help us to battle this growing nuisance."
All three organizations reiterated that federal legislation is also a critical necessity in the fight against spam, and urged Congress to move forward quickly to enact a single national law that will clearly delineate legitimate commercial e-mail from unlawful spam.
About the AAAA
The American Association of Advertising Agencies is the national trade association of the advertising agency business. The 1,225 member agency offices it serves in the U.S. employ 65,000 people, offer a wide range of marketing communications services, and place 75 percent of all national advertising. The management-oriented association helps its members build their businesses, and acts as the industry's spokesman with government, media, and the public sector. For more information visit www.aaaa.org.
About the ANA
The ANA's mission is to be the Center of Excellence for Marketing – to provide industry leadership and proprietary resources that enable members to build brands, improve marketing productivity and drive business results. Access to ANA's best practices, peer-to-peer network and industry leadership enable corporate marketers to: strengthen brand management, strategic planning and execution; control costs, streamline processes, and create efficiencies; optimize media management and integrated marketing communications; develop professional marketing talent; shape industry platforms that advance the practice of marketing and promote free markets, free speech, and free choice; and champion the value and power of marketing. The trade association represents 330 companies with 8,000 brands that collectively spend over $100 billion in marketing communications and advertising. For more information visit www.ana.net.
About The DMA
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States are projected to have surpassed $2 trillion in 2002, including $126 billion in catalog sales and $34 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web site is http://www.the-dma.org/, and its consumer Web site is http://www.shopthenet.org/.
Kipp Cheng for AAAA
CooperKatz & Company for the ANA
Jordan Cohen for The DMA