Global DMA's Agree - and Disagree - on Key Issues

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SAN FRANCISCO - The International Federation of Direct Marketing Associations (IFDMA) reached broad agreement on six key issues last month but a US effort to set up an IFDMA secretariat in New York was rebuffed.

Meeting at the ninth annual global symposium on direct marketing and self-regulation at the DMA conference here representatives of 29 national DMAs gave unanimous support to establishment of a global e-mail preference service.

The EPF will give consumers the opportunity not to receive unsolicited e-mail. The service is now under development and IFDMA members in 29 countries will co-ordinate and assess the service on a global basis.

Members gave the American DMA the lead role in this effort since 95 percent of unsolicited e-mail comes from the US. "The initiative," Colin Lloyd, CEO of the UK DMA, said, "reflects a key principle of IFDMA's global convention of giving consumers trust and confidence in DM."

The Americans plan to launch EPF next year with others following suit. The move is deemed necessary to ward off possible restrictive legislation passed in response to public pressure to stop SPAM.

Delegates pointed out that California last month passed two bills severely restricting e-mail use, and, among other things, forcing marketers to add ADV or ADV:ADLT to their e-mail promotions.

But US efforts to set up an IFDMA secretariat at the DMA's office in New York ran into a stone wall. The Americans wanted the other members to bear half the cost of the estimated $100,000 it would take to open an office.

Not only did other members balk at paying the $50,000, sources familiar with the proceedings reported, but felt that the US was riding roughshod over other interests.

Nor was IFDMA able to overcome German reluctance to join the organization founded in New Orleans two years ago. The Germans want greater financial accountability and a more transparent mission statement, the sources said.

A group of 16 IFMDA members adopted a new Global Convention of Telephone Preference Services (TPS) modeled on existing mail preference services (MPS). The new TPS would let signatories exchange national do-not-call lists.

Members also agreed to share information and resolve complaints that resulted from cross-border DM transactions. "This action further facilitates cross-border marketing, particularly on the Internet," Lloyd said.

In response to the EU's data protection directive which went into effect on October 24 IFDMA supported development of a model contract for countries that do not have national data protection laws, e.g., the US.

A working group of 6 countries was charged with drafting such a contract based on the model developed by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Another committee, made up of Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK, was charged with developing global principles for marketing to children, especially online marketing.

"Concern was expressed at the 'Orwellian' level of government scrutiny of online information particularly e-mail," Lloyd said. "Future actions will seek to limit scrutiny to national security issues only."

Finally, four new countries joined the organization - Chile, Switzerland, Colombia and Peru - and signed its global convention at a ceremony Lloyd chaired. The four new entrants bring IFDMA membership to 29.

On a related matter Lloyd reported on an October meeting of the Home Shopping industry in Budapest where the question of country or origin or destination was discussed.

The meeting, Lloyd said, proposed a new concept - -country of initiation. "In other words if a consumer initiated a contract on the net in France with a UK company, French law would apply. Ditto for the other way around."

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