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THE DMA ADOPTS NEW TELEPHONE AND ONLINE MARKETING ETHICS GUIDELINES
NEW YORK, October 23, 2003 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today announced that its Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt significant changes to The DMA’s telephone marketing guidelines, and has also introduced a groundbreaking new set of rules for the use of online referral, or "viral," marketing. Adherence to The DMA’s Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice is a requirement for Association membership and is strictly enforced by The DMA’s ethics committees.
"The DMA Board of Directors voted to revise three of the telemarketing guidelines and adopt two new ones in order to meet and, in certain areas, go beyond the current telemarketing laws," said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA.
"It also approved the first set of guidelines ever established for online referral marketing," Wientzen said. "The changes announced today provide new self-regulatory enforcement tools for our Teleservices Ethics Committee and Committee on Ethical Business Practice as well as demonstrate that our guidelines, like the marketing practices they govern, must constantly evolve to honor consumers’ wishes."
"Even though the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) new fax rule definition for established business relationship (EBR) does not go into effect until January 1, 2005, The DMA is implementing it today," said Patricia Faley, vice president, ethics & consumer affairs, The DMA. "We’re telling our members not to send unsolicited faxes to consumers who have inquired about products or services unless it’s within three months of the inquiry, and not to send faxes to customers after 18 months of their last payment or transaction, the lifecycle of most products or services."
The revisions to the telemarketing guidelines adopted today most notably relate to:
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"In addition to important changes to our telemarketing rules," Faley said, "we are requiring that our members follow new guidance for online referral marketing, which is a promising feature of Internet marketing when employed in a manner that respects consumers’ wishes."
The type of online referral marketing that the guidelines address is when a customer is asked to supply personal information about another consumer with similar interests so that a marketer may contact that consumer directly. The new guideline advises marketers about acceptable practices and what disclosures must be made to both the referred and referring individuals.
All of The DMA’s Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice can be viewed online at www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicalguidelines.shtml.
Consumers, marketers, members of the press, and government officials concerned about possible ethics violations can alert The DMA by using the Ethics Case Complaint Form at www.the-dma.org/guidelines/EthicsComplaintForm.pdf.
The DMA’s Ethics Publications and Tools can be viewed online at http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/quickreference.shtml.
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The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 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 economic-impact study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States are projected to have surpassed $1.7 trillion in 2003, including $133 billion in catalog sales and $41 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.