DMA Urges Schumer to Drop Do-Not-E-mail List Clause

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) yesterday urged its members to ask New York Sen. Charles Schumer to drop his proposal for a do-not-e-mail registry.

In a posting on its site, the DMA asked New York-based members to sign a joint letter to be sent to Schumer warning of the consequences such an action could have on businesses in the state. DMA members outside New York are asked to write personally to the Senator about how such a provision would affect their businesses and employees.

“The DMA intends to continue its effort to convince the Senator that a number of New York companies are concerned about this issue and, while supporting legislation, do not believe that a no-e-mail registry is the way to go,” the DMA’s message says.

The prospect of a do-not-call registry, included in the legislation Schumer introduced last month, gained momentum thanks to the overwhelming popularity of the do-not-call list begun by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in June. Schumer’s bill calls for the FTC to contract with a third party to build and maintain a registry of consumers who do not wish to receive unsolicited commercial e-mail. Marketers would be required to consult the list and remove the names of those on it from mass commercial mailings.

The CAN-SPAM Act, a piece of anti-spam legislation further along the legislative process, includes a provision for the FTC to create a do-not-e-mail list, although it does not require one.

The DMA has questioned the workability of such an e-mail list, which DMA spokesman Louis Mastria called “sheer folly.”

Public support, however, appears in favor of the proposal. According to an InsightExpress survey, 80 percent of those who signed up for the do-not-call list favor a similar registry for unsolicited e-mail.

The DMA has been criticized by some in the industry for its approach to the spam problem. Although belatedly endorsing legislation, the group has narrowly defined spam as fraudulent e-mail, not unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail.

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