Marketing group helps you 'opt out' of junk e-mail
March 3, 1999
by Sharon Machlis
(IDG) -- The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) will create an "opt-out" E-mail program this July, where consumers can register to not receive unsolicited commercial E-mail, association President and CEO H. Robert Wientzen said today.
The program will be similar to others in place where consumers can ask to be taken off telephone and postal mail marketing lists.
By July, DMA members will be required to pledge compliance with the association's Internet privacy guidelines, which include notifying consumers how their personal data is being used and allowing them to opt out of marketing programs.
The moves won't necessarily lessen the plague of spam from small operations flooding the Internet with pornography and get-rich-quick pitches. However, the DMA hopes it will help head off moves by federal and state governments to restrict commercial E-mail -- bills the DMA believes would hinder reputable marketers' efforts to run E-mail marketing campaigns.
"We are pleading with our members to certify compliance with our privacy promise now," Wientzen said at the DMA's Net.marketing conference in Los Angeles.
A new study of Web site privacy policies kicks off this month. It will be conducted by a Georgetown University professor and funded by industry groups. The Federal Trade Commission will be looking at the results of the study to see whether Web sites are posting adequate information about their privacy policies. FTC officials have said they will consider recommending Internet privacy legislation if it appears that industry self-regulation isn't working.
Groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington have been pushing for legislation, arguing that industry self-policing doesn't adequately protect consumer rights.
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