Ongoing spam concerns hamper e-marketing efforts

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New York--Spam continues to have a significant impact on b-to-b companies' ability to market via e-mail and in some cases has stopped them from doing so, according to panelists at BtoB's NetMarketing breakfast Thursday.

Dawn DiMartino, director of integrated marketing communications for AT&T Business Services, said e-marketing is "missing" from her company's current marketing mix. "We actually have our e-marketing on hiatus," she said, adding that viral marketing is also on hiatus for the same reason. "If you thought this was some toothless legislation, think again," she said of the federal CAN-SPAM Act.

Others agreed.

"I'm doing less [e-mail] because I'm concerned about it," said Monica Luechtefeld, exec VP-global e-commerce at Office Depot, noting the company's open rate has dropped to 32%. Luechtefeld said Office Depot will "spend less on e-mail until some law and order occurs in that space." Susanne Perrone, VP-marketing, e-business and tele-Web at Xerox Corp., said the ongoing spam issues have affected her company internally as well. "This legislation has slowed us down somewhat in terms of making sure everyone is trained in how to send e-mail correctly," she said. "It's a humongous task."

On Wednesday, America Online, EarthLink, Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! announced they have joined to file six lawsuits under the new federal law. Each filed complaints in federal courts in California, Georgia, Virginia and Washington state against companies they claim sent hundreds of millions of bulk spam e-mail messages to customers of the four Internet service providers.

--Carol Krol

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