DMA Encouraged By FTC Report on CAN-SPAM Effectiveness

Dec 20, 2005, 00:00 ET from Direct Marketing Association

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- As the Federal Trade Commission
 announced today in its report to Congress on the effectiveness of the CAN-SPAM
 Act, much has been done to mandate best practices for legitimate e-mail and
 provide tools that help law enforcement authorities stem the tide of illegal,
 damaging and nuisance e-mails.  The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is
 encouraged by the FTC report and congratulates legitimate senders of email,
 law enforcement agencies, ISPs on their successful efforts, and looks forward
 to continuing to work with the FTC to make the electronic marketplace safe and
 successful for consumers and businesses.
     As the report noted, filtering and other technologies are helping
 consumers see some declines in spam levels.  Legitimate organizations are
 overwhelmingly complying with CAN-SPAM requirements and have taken significant
 steps to ensure that legitimate marketing messages include honest subject
 lines, accurate header information, a physical location address, and a
 prominent and easy-to-use opt-out function.
     "While legitimate marketers are taking many steps to combat spam, the vast
 majority of what remains that reaches consumers inboxes -- is coming from
 people who have no intention of following the law," said Jerry Cerasale, DMA's
 senior vice president for government affairs.  "CAN-SPAM is a necessary part
 of the cooperative effort that government, businesses and consumers must
 undertake to combat spam.  The law provides the enforcement muscle that
 complements what e-mail providers, legitimate marketers and ISPs are doing to
 keep ahead of constantly-evolving technologies."
     Over the past year, DMA has been active in supporting the "Safe Web Act"
 and in calling for stronger penalties for online criminals and greater
 resources for law enforcement to help identify and prosecute them.  DMA would
 particularly like to see the FTC receive greater authority to help combat
 cross-border fraud and is encouraged by the progress of such legislation.  Lou
 Mastria, DMA's vice president for interactive & emerging media, added that
 most of the spam that consumers continue to see in their inboxes is being sent
 from hijacked addresses and through "zombie" servers -- unsecured individual
 addresses and commercial servers that have been taken over by spammers.  "The
 single most important thing individuals and companies can do is to make sure
 their servers are secure," he noted.  "When spammers aren't able to conceal
 their identities, law enforcement will be better able to find and prosecute
     To help consumers differentiate between fraudulent messages and legitimate
 commercial e-mail, many organizations are also taking additional steps to help
 consumers identify trustworthy e-mail.  In October, the DMA announced that
 members will be required to adopt e-mail authentication systems that help
 verify the authenticity of legitimate commercial e-mail messages.
     The DMA estimates that legitimate commercial e-mail resulted in
 approximately $39 billion in sales in 2004, including about $9 billion in
 small business sales. "We believe that e-mail can deliver great value for
 consumers and more dollars for the U.S. and global economies if spam and fraud
 can be reduced or eliminated," said Mastria.
     About the DMA
     The Direct Marketing Association ( is the leading
 global trade association of business and nonprofit organizations using and
 supporting direct marketing tools and techniques.  DMA advocates industry
 standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching
 consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research,
 education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the
 entire direct marketing process.  Founded in 1917, DMA today has more than
 4,800 corporate, affiliate, and chapter members from the US and 46 other
 nations, including 55 companies listed on the Fortune 100.
     In 2005, companies will spend more than $161 billion on direct marketing
 in the United States.  Measured against total US sales, these advertising
 expenditures are expected to generate $1.85 trillion in increased sales in
 2005, or 7% of the $26 trillion in total sales in the US economy (which
 includes intermediate sales).  All together, direct marketing will account for
 10.3% of total US GDP in 2005.

SOURCE Direct Marketing Association