FTC: 'ADV' Label Won't Slow Spam

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Requiring a label such as "ADV" in the subject line of unsolicited commercial e-mails will not reduce the amount of spam flooding consumers, according to a Federal Trade Commission report to Congress released Friday.

State laws requiring such labels have been ineffective, according to the FTC. The FTC said it doubted that requiring subject-line labels on a nationwide basis would help e-mail users and Internet service providers to block spam.

Low-cost spam filters currently available to the public represent a more precise and effective means for blocking spam than subject-line labels, the FTC said. Illegal spammers likely would ignore the label requirement anyway, according to the report.

Legitimate marketers likely would comply, and thus would get blocked by ISPs filtering e-mails based on subject-line labels, the FTC said. Law-abiding e-mailers would be punished while outlaw e-mailers would go on unimpeded.

The report concluded that encouraging industry to adopt alternative measures, such as e-mail authentication, would be a more effective way to combat spam. Congress required the FTC to issue a report on the feasibility of a subject-line label requirement as part of the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act.

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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