US spam regulator settles with email marketer

In an ironic twist, Yesmail's spam-filtering software filtered out some unsubscribe requests from recipients as spam

Marketer Yesmail has agreed to pay a US$50,717 (NZ$75,740) civil penalty to settle US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges accusing it of sending unsolicited commercial email after recipients asked it to stop.

The FTC alleged that Yesmail, doing business as @Once, violated federal law by continuing to send unsolicited email more than ten business days after recipients asked that the email stop.

In an ironic twist, Yesmail’s spam-filtering software filtered out some unsubscribe requests from recipients as spam, resulting in Yesmail failing to honour unsubscribe requests, the FTC says. Yesmail sent thousands of emails to recipients after they requested it stop, the FTC says.

Yesmail did not immediately return an email seeking comment on the settlement.

The US CAN-SPAM Act requires commercial emailers to give recipients an opt-out method and honour such requests within ten business days. The law also bans false or misleading header information, prohibits deceptive subject lines, requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement, and requires the sender to include a valid physical postal address.

Under the proposed settlement, Yesmail is permanently prohibited from violating the CAN-SPAM Act. It must not fail to include in its email a functioning return email address or other mechanism that a recipient may use to decline future email.

The settlement also requires Yesmail disclose an opportunity to decline to receive email, and prohibits it from sending email more than ten business days after a recipient has asked it to stop.

The complaint and order were filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

In Australia last month, spammer Clarity1 was fined $A4.5 million and its director, Wayne Mansfield, A$1 million for sending millions of spam emails advertising seminars between April 2004 and April 2006.

It was the first fine levied under Australia’s Spam Act, which was passed into law in 2003.

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