Ad Trade Associations Urge Congress to Pass National Spam Law

Share this content:
The nation's leading advertising and marketing trade associations yesterday ran an open letter in the Capitol Hill-focused Roll Call newspaper asking Congress to pass national anti-spam legislation immediately.

Written by the leaders of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers and the Direct Marketing Association, the appeal is an attempt to protect legitimate e-mail marketing from a hodge-podge of damaging anti-spam laws from states.

"If Congress fails to act, commercial e-mail communication -- a promising vehicle for conducting commerce -- will be severely injured," the letter said.

Members of the 108th Congress specifically are urged to pass the Senate's CAN-SPAM Act or the House of Representatives' Reduction in Distribution of Spam Act.

Failure to act will bring several consequences, the associations said. A new state spam law -- California's, albeit not mentioned -- effective Jan. 1 will make it illegal for news media to send advertising-supported e-mail newsletters.

Next, large and small businesses face the potential of huge legal fees from frivolous lawsuits. In Utah, one-third of suits filed using that state's spam laws have been dismissed. This was because the defendants were not the parties responsible for sending spam.

Finally, inconsistent state laws will affect legitimate commercial e-mail communications. Unlike other forms of marketing, e-mail does not easily lend itself for customization that recognizes state boundaries.

There now are 37 state spam laws and proposals for a do-not-e-mail list that the associations call a "knee-jerk reaction" to the spam crisis.

"These approaches do nothing to reduce the intrusion of spam piling up in consumer's inboxes," the letter states. "What's worse, they mandate inconsistent standards that make compliance by honest businesses extraordinarily burdensome."

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, about 12 percent of the current $138 billion Internet commerce marketplace is driven by legitimate commercial e-mail. This works out to at least $17.5 billion spent in response to commercial e-mails this year for travel, hotels, entertainment, apparel and books.

"If a federal law is not passed, there will be a tremendous amount of confusion for marketers and consumers because state-by-state laws differ greatly and complying with one state's law may not be complying with another state's laws," said Kipp Cheng, vice president and director of public affairs at the AAAA.

"Because of the confusion," Cheng said, "we're likely to see a number of nuisance lawsuits."


Next Article in Digital Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

We recently were named B2B Magazine's Direct Marketing Agency of the Year, and with good reason: We make real, measureable, positive change happen for our clients. A full-service agency founded in 1974, Bader Rutter expertly helps you get the right message to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. As we engage our clients' audiences along their journey, direct marketing (email, direct mail, phone, SMS) and behavioral marketing (SEM, retargeting, contextual) channels deliver information relevant to the needs of each stage. We are experts at implementing and leveraging marketing technologies such as CRM and marketing automation in order to synchronize sales and marketing communications. Our team of architects and activators plan, execute, measure and adjust in real time to ensure the strategy is working as needed and change things if it's not.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above