Direct Marketers Join US Fight Against Spam

25 August 2003

America’s Direct Marketing Association is joining the fight against spam emails.

In a bid to protect legitimate marketers, the DMA is setting up an anti-spam technology group in conjunction with law enforcers, regulators and ISPs. This could be up and running as early as next month.

The DMA is calling its campaign Operation Slam Spam – the ‘Slam’ standing for ‘simultaneous layered approach methodology’. Which in English means it will work with the National White Collar Crime Center to support investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department as well as state and local officials.

According to a letter to DMA members signed by ceo H Robert Wientzen, the marketing body hopes to “identify significant spam operators who are violating existing laws, develop the cases and refer them to the appropriate state, federal or international prosecuting authorities.”

It is asking members for a $65,000 (€59,747; £41,329) “participation fee”, arguing that this could be a valuable investment if it helps prevent some of the more extreme anti-spam legislation under consideration.

“State and federal lawmakers are focusing on this growing blight and are threatening to enact legislation that could have a significant negative impact on marketers,” the group told members.

The DMA favours an ‘opt-out’ scheme for email marketing, allowing consumers to request that they are not sent messages. More ardent campaigners, however, favour an ‘opt-in’ system, which the marketing body fears will hit legitimate operators. Poorly thought-out legislation, argues Wientzen, “really will only hurt the good guy.”

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff