Guidelines Stress Real Subject Lines, Valid Return Addresses

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WASHINGTON ( -- Advertising groups, under pressure from new state laws banning unsolicited bulk e-mail, today released a new standard for e-mail marketing that includes a requirement all e-mails include a working method for removing names from future mailings.

Direct Marketing Association, the Association

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of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies have jointly endorsed nine guidelines for junk e-mail, otherwise known as spam. Consumer and political backlash against spam has been brewing for some time, and marketers are looking to separate legitimate e-mail marketing from fraudulent spam.

The new guidelines call for, among other things, a subject line that isn't misleading; a valid return address and physical address of the sender in the message; a ban on acquiring e-mail lists surreptitiously or by faking e-mail addresses; and a ban on providing or selling e-mail lists unless consumers are aware their names could be sold.

While the guidelines are similar to previous DMA policies, it represents an agreement by marketers and advertising agencies to abide by those policies.

The announcement comes as marketers are pushing for federal anti-spam legislation because of worries that a tough new anti-e-mail law in California that is due to take effect next year will lead to a flood of similar but conflicting legislation from other states.

The marketing groups, who once opposed anti-spam legislation, now believe that a federal law is necessary to set a national standard and preempt state-by-state conflicts.

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