FTC clarifies ‘sender’ definition

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The Direct Marketing Association announced that the Federal Trade Commission has responded to a DMA request to clarify the definition of "sender" for certain e-mail messages. The DMA asked the FTC to provide an opinion on whom the sender is when a single message consists of advertisements from different companies and the recipient has provided permission to receive the e-mail. The FTC indicated there would only be one "sender" provided that certain conditions are met. They are:

  1. At least one of the sellers that contributes commercial content to the e-mail message must receive the recipient’s affirmative consent, after clear and conspicuous disclosure that additional sellers may contribute advertising content to subsequent messages.
  2. The seller who has received the recipient’s affirmative consent must satisfy the act’s definition of "sender," which it says is "a person or entity who initiates such a message and whose product, service or Internet Web site is advertised or promoted by the message." This opinion does not apply to scenarios where the party who receives affirmative consent to receive e-mail messages is not a "sender."

Additionally, the FTC clarified that multiple advertisers contributing to a single message are still "initiators" of the e-mail.

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