The Direct Marketing Association seeks to protect you from Nigerian widows:
- The DMA announced today that it would pursue legislation as the latest tactic in the battle against the rising volume of spam inundating consumers’ e-mailboxes.
Today’s action is another proactive step by The DMA to control the growth of spam, which hurts consumers and legitimate marketers alike. Earlier this year, The DMA promulgated groundbreaking online marketing guidelines to assist consumers in identifying legitimate commercial e-mail from spam and promote higher ethical standards among marketers.
“The need to stop the growth of spam from cluttering up consumers’ mailboxes must be a priority if we are to preserve the promise of e-mail as the next great marketing channel,” said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. “Without a solution that includes legislation, legitimate marketers who use e-mail to communicate with consumers will continue to suffer at the hands of spammers.”
“Spam must be stopped, and we will take every step necessary to ensure that e-mail is not lost as a marketing channel to the likes of Nigerian widows and unseemly and illegitimate come-ons,” said Wientzen.
Over the next few weeks and months, The DMA will pursue its agenda to preserve e-mail as a marketing channel by supporting legislative efforts to control the growth of spam at the state and federal level. The DMA will also continue to provide consumer education, industry best practices as well as technological solutions to spam so that industry self-regulation continues to be one of the pillars on which the success of e-mail will be supported.
Meanwhile, a hapless Oregon spammer was fined nearly $100k under a Washington law:
- Attorney General Christine Gregoire’s office estimates that Jason Heckel, 28, of Salem, sent as many as 20,000 unsolicited e-mails to Washington residents in 1998, trying to sell a $39.95 booklet called “How to Profit from the Internet.”
The case was the first brought after the Legislature banned commercial e-mail with misleading information in the subject line, invalid reply addresses or disguised paths of transmission.
Judge Douglass North ordered Heckel to pay a $2,000 fine and more than $94,000 in legal fees.
Heckel didn’t appear in court. In a written statement he said he never intended to break the law, and that he made only about $680 from book sales.
Heckel’s lawyer Dale Crandall said he plans to appeal, and argued that state anti-spam laws violate the U.S. Constitution’s protection of interstate commerce.
“It would create a patchwork of laws that would be impossible to keep up with,” Crandall said.
Gary Gardner, executive director of the Washington Association of Internet Service Providers, one of the anti-spam law’s backers, said he hoped the fine is the beginning of a new push to enforce the law.
“Our goal was never to make any money on this stuff,” Gardner said. “It’s to put these people out of business.”
I’m all for the goal and have no particular sympathy for this dork, but it does seem unwieldy for each state to have a separate set of rules over a medium that knows no geographical boundary. This would clearly appear to be a federal matter.