*RECA Announces First Board of Directors

The Responsible Electronic Communication Alliance, Washington, yesterday announced the names of 11 industry executives who will make up its first board of directors. RECA is a coalition of e-mail service bureaus that formed in September with the goal of promoting a set of best practices for e-mail marketing and list management.

The board members are Ashlen Cherry (Digital Impact), Bennie Smith (DoubleClick), Christine Frye (24/7 Media), Donna Cunningham (Radical Communication), Geoff Smith (ClickAction), John Lawlor (Email Channel), Kate Leahy (Bigfoot Interactive), Rick Buck (e-dialog), Reggie Brady (FloNetwork), Rodney Gould (Netcentives) and Todd Love (yesmail.com).

RECA Executive Director Peter Arnold also said that the group has decided to open its membership to any companies in the online marketing space that share its views on privacy. Previously, RECA membership was limited to e-mail service bureaus such as 24/7 Media and Acxiom Corp.

Arnold said the group would examine a prospective member’s business model and privacy statement before allowing that company to join. RECA’s best practices proposals concentrate on notice, choice, access and enforcement.

Notice — RECA proposes that marketers notify users of all personal information that is collected, how that information will be used, who will use it and what methods are used to collect it, such as cookies and clear-gifs.

Choice — The coalition is setting single opt-in as its minimum standard of permission for e-mail list development. The only exceptions are cases in which a company and user have an established business relationship. In all instances, however, the marketer must include unsubscribe information on all messages, including the confirmation.

Access — RECA is proposing that users be given access to their personal information upon request.

Enforcement — The voluntary group is calling for the establishment of penalties, including warnings, fines and expulsion, for companies that violate agreed-upon standards.

Companies that follow these guidelines would be eligible to participate in a yet-to-be-finalized seal of approval program.

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