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DMA Sets Standards for Software Downloads
Washington, DC, January 13, 2006 Ė The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has announced that it will begin requiring its member organizations to adhere to a new guideline for how marketers should provide notice and choice regarding software that may be downloaded onto a consumers personal computer or similar devices (such as PDAs or MP3 players). The new guideline was approved last week by DMAís Board of Directors and immediately becomes part of DMAís comprehensive Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice, adherence to which is a requirement for DMA membership.
"While software technology by itself is neutral, substantial harm, including "modem hijacking," identity theft and significant decreases in performance can result from deceptive and unethical uses of downloadable software," said Louis Mastria, DMAís vice president for interactive and emerging media. "We are committed to taking a strong stand against such practices in order to increase confidence in the online channel."
The guideline states that marketers should not install, have installed, or use, software or other similar technology on a computer or similar device that initiates deceptive practices or interferes with a userís expectation of the functionality of the computer and its programs. Such practices could include software that takes control of a computer (e.g., relaying spam and viruses, modem hijacking, denial of service attacks, or endless loop pop-up advertisements). Also prohibited would be programs that deceptively modify or disable security or browser settings or prevent the userís efforts to disable or uninstall the software.
The guideline also lays out what marketers should do when offering software or other similar technology that is installed on a computer for legitimate marketing purposes. Specifically, such programs must give the user clear and conspicuous notice and choice at the point of joining a service or before the software or other similar technology begins operating on the userís computer, including notice of significant effects of having the software or other similar technology installed. Marketers must also give the user an easy means to uninstall the technology and/or disable all functionality. Finally, marketers should always provide an easily accessible link to privacy policies and contact information, as well as clear identification of company making the offer.
"DMA members represent some of the nationís largest and best-known consumer and nonprofit brands. Protecting those brands Ė and the consumers who place their trust in them Ė is vitally important," said Patricia Kachura, DMAís senior vice president for ethics and consumer affairs.
The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is the leading global trade association of business and nonprofit organizations using and supporting direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates industry standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the entire direct marketing process. Founded in 1917, DMA today has more than 4,800 corporate, affiliate, and chapter members from the US and 46 other nations, including 55 companies listed on the Fortune 100.
In 2005, companies will spend more than $161 billion on direct marketing in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures are expected to generate $1.85 trillion in increased sales in 2005, or 7% of the $26 trillion in total sales in the US economy (which includes intermediate sales). All together, direct marketing will account for 10.3% of total US GDP in 2005.
The Power of Direct: Relevance. Responsibility. Results.