Representatives of America's advertisers and agencies have agreed new guidelines for email marketing.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers and the Direct Marketing Association have drawn up the code to "defend and enhance the viability of legitimate email marketing."

Under the new rules, the subject lines of marketing messages "must be honest and not misleading or deceptive". Emails must identify the sender and include a correct return address. Consumers should be offered "a clear and conspicuous electronic option" to be deleted from mailing lists, and this feature "must be reliable, functional and prompt".

In addition, the automated harvesting of email addresses without consumer consent is banned, as is their sale to "unrelated third parties" without warning.

The guidelines have been introduced as the industry tries to distinguish marketers from spammers. Said AAAA president/ceo O Burtch Drake: "We are asking advertising agencies to abide by a stringent set of self-regulatory practices for legitimate, responsible and consumer-friendly businesses."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff