The War Against Spam Heats Up
Associations worry about federal laws regulating e-mail
With spam regulation a puzzling patchwork of state
laws, Congress moved in November to craft federal legislation.
Associations want to make sure the final version of the bill, to
take effect later this year, doesn’t hinder legitimate
The bill “was a last-minute surprise,” said Jim Clark, senior
vice president of public policy and strategic relations at the
American Society of Association Executives, based in Washington,
D.C. “It shows the populism of this kind of action.”
The legislation rode the same wave of support as the “do not
call” list, noted Clark, who expressed an industrywide concern that
associations could be stymied by restrictions if the final law does
not include an exemption for nonprofit groups.
For their part, associations representing the marketing industry
recently offered a series of nine guidelines for e-mail campaigns.
The list urges organizations to have prominent opt-out functions
and to use an e-mail address with the domain name in it to confer
The list was created by the American Association of Advertising
Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers and the Direct
Marketing Association, all of them based in New York City.
ASAE’s Clark allowed that a federal bill was preferable to the
current maze of regulations, including laws scattered among 37
Of particular concern to the industry, according to Clark, was a
California law set to go into effect on Jan. 1. “This law has an
opt-in rule vs. opt-out,” he noted. The provision, which could be
superceded by the federal
law, would make associations responsible for the onerous task of
getting releases from everyone, even members, to whom they send
California’s bill mimics recently proposed federal legislation
that would have severely limited fax solicitations; the law has
been delayed pending further study (see Newsline, “Industry Halts
FCC Fax Rules...For Now,” September 2003). ASAE is keeping an eye
on the measure to make sure associations aren’t left out of the
loop. “We’ll watch this every step of the way,” said Clark.