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The DMA Issues Online Marketing Guidelines
NEW YORK, February 4, 2002 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today detailed guidelines for sending commercial solicitations by e-mail and regarding the posting of Web site privacy policies. This step is part of a continuing effort to promote higher ethical standards among marketers.
"The guidelines unveiled today demonstrate that industry self-regulation is working," said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. "The guidelines are fair to consumers and marketers alike."
The guidelines issued today are part of The DMA’s overall Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice and will be enforced by The DMA’s Committee on Ethical Business Practice.
"Today’s action carries the risk of expulsion from The DMA, and the attendant publicity, for any member who refuses to follow the guidelines."
The online information guidelines codify the need to offer notice, choice, access, security, accountability and protection of minors under 13 years old at marketers’ Web sites. The online commercial solicitation guidelines set a minimum standard for how commercial e-mail can be sent from marketers to consumers.
The DMA is also offering a Do The Right Thing staff commentary on the guidelines to assist members in implementation, along with a statement of best practices for online commercial solicitation. To request a copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based on the guidelines, solicitations sent online should disclose the marketer's identity, and the subject line should be clear, honest, and not misleading. A marketer must also provide specific contact information at which the individual can opt out of in-house lists or restrict transfer of their information to other marketers.
A marketer must also provide information on how consumers can obtain service or information. The marketer's street address must be made available in the e-mail solicitation or by a link to the marketer's Web site. In addition, marketers are required to "scrub" e-mail lists obtained through third-party marketers using The DMA’s e-Mail Preference Service suppression file.
"The requirement to include a physical address is a unique feature of the guidelines," said Patricia Faley, vice president, ethics & consumer affairs, The DMA. "Responsible marketers want to build trust with their customers and prospective consumers. This is another groundbreaking way of achieving that goal."
The Association for Interactive Marketing (AIM), a subsidiary of The DMA, and its Council on Responsible E-mail helped create and endorsed the online commercial solicitation guidelines.
"Marketers have discovered that e-mail is one of the greatest direct marketing mediums ever created, and these guidelines will ensure the continued success for DMA and AIM members," said Ben Isaacson, executive director, AIM.
Among the most notable provisions of the Online Information Guidelines are:
The DMA’s Online Information Guidelines can be viewed at:http://www.the-dma.org/library/guidelines/onlineguidelines.shtml
The DMA’s Online Commercial Solicitations Guidelines can be viewed at:
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 5,000 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States exceeded $1.86 trillion in 2001, including $118 billion in catalog sales and $30 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web Site iswww.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.
The Association for Interactive Marketing (AIM) is the largest organization in the world devoted to helping marketers leverage interactive opportunities across multiple channels to effectively reach their respective marketplaces. AIM, an independent subsidiary of the Direct Marketing Association, serves diverse corporate interests in an effort to build a strong interactive community, drive benchmarks and best practices, advocate industry guidelines, and educate the direct and interactive marketing industries. For more information including upcoming events and best practices, refer to www.interactivehq.org.