The American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers, and Direct Marketing Association this morning announced nine guidelines that call on marketers to help improve legitimate e-mail marketing. Among the items addressed:
- The subject line of an email must be honest and not misleading or deceptive.
- A valid return email address and the physical address of the sender should be clearly identified.
- An email should clearly identify the sender and the subject matter at the beginning of the email.
- All commercial email (except for billing purposes) must provide consumers with a clear and conspicuous electronic option to be removed from lists for future e-mail messages from the sender.
- If a company sending commercial email has multiple distinct brands or affiliates, notice and opt-out should be provided based on the likely perspective of the average consumer.
- Marketers should not acquire email addresses surreptitiously through automated mechanisms (such as robots or spiders) without the consumer/customer’s informed consent.
- “Remove” means “Remove.” The electronic remove feature must be reliable, functional, and prompt.
- Email lists must not be sold or provided to unrelated third parties unless the owner of the list has provided notice and the ability to be removed from such transfer to each email address on the list.
While the guidelines will be self-regulated, they seem like a good start. What do you think? Will this suffice? Or is regulation required?