ANA Opposes Do-Not-E-Mail Registry

NEW YORK The Association of National Advertisers has urged the Federal Trade Commission to recommend against the adoption of a do-not-e-mail list in an upcoming report to Congress.

Under the CAN-Spam Act of 2003, the FTC was directed to report to Congress this spring on the feasibility of a do-not-spam registry, similar to the national do-not-call list intended to shield consumers from unwanted telemarketing solicitations.

The ANA argues that such a registry would not solve the spam problem, but would add new costs and burdens to legitimate marketers. In a letter dated yesterday to Donald Clark in the office of the secretary for the FTC, ANA executive vice president Dan Jaffe wrote, “Spammers are sophisticated criminals. They will never comply with a do-not-e-mail registry, so it would not reduce the spam that consumers find objectionable.”

The letter also stated that the registry would create new security and privacy risks for consumers. Such a list would “truly be the ‘Fort Knox’ list of e-mail addresses for a criminal spammer,” Jaffe pointed out. “The government would have to invest extraordinary resources to develop and maintain security for such a registry.”

In addition to the ANA, the Direct Marketing Association and American Association of Advertising Agencies have raised concerns over a do-not-e-mail registry, arguing that it would impede the growth of legitimate e-mail marketing, which according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, represents 12 percent of today’s $138 billion Internet commerce marketplace [IQ Daily Briefing, Dec. 16, 2003].