Institute supports spam code, despite criticism

The Consumers' Institute says it continues to support the Direct Marketing Association's code of practice for email marketing despite criticism of the guidelines.

The Consumers' Institute is supporting the Direct Marketing Association’s code of practice for email marketing, despite criticism of the guidelines.

David Russell, the consumer watchdog head says the institute's position on the code has provoked a lot of email, most of it referring to the problems of “opt-out” email lists.

“We have not withdrawn our support, but we are taking on board criticism that the code is deficient in one area,” says Russell.

“What I can’t understand is why a marketer would want to upset its customers in such a way.”

An “opt-out” policy for email marketing is considered less than useful by many anti-spam campaigners because in order to opt out of a list people have to provide the company with their email address. The fear is that unscrupulous spammers would be able to build a list of active email addresses that can then be sold to other direct marketers.

Anti-spam activists, like Manawatu Internet Services director Alan Brown, says opt-in lists are more effective because the only email address the marketer has is one from a user who wants to be contacted.

The code of practice can be found at the Electronic Marketing Standards Authority website or the Direct Marketing Association website.

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