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DMA Requires Members to Adopt E-Mail Authentication Systems
Atlanta, GA, October 17, 2005– The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) today announced that it will begin requiring its member companies – who represent some of the nation’s largest and best-known consumer brands – to adopt e-mail authentication systems that help verify the authenticity of legitimate commercial e-mail messages.
The DMA Board of Directors voted today to require all members using e-mail for communication and transaction purposes to adopt and use identification and authentication protocols. The DMA is not requiring its members to adopt any specific authentication technology, as there are several interoperable, inexpensive and easy to implement solutions available on the market today.
"E-mail authentication protects the integrity of responsible marketers’ brands and improves the likelihood that legitimate e-mail – whether it is a marketing offer, airline ticket confirmation, or a financial statement – gets through to its intended recipient," said DMA president and CEO John A. Greco, Jr. "Consumers can have more confidence they are getting a legitimate, valid offer from a trusted source. Marketers get fewer false positives, increased deliverability and better protection for their brands against illegal use. It’s a win-win for everybody."
Spam, phishing and other forms of fraudulent e-mail remain an irritant to consumers and a danger because of ID thieves and others who use e-mail to perpetrate fraud. ISPs and other mailbox providers are increasingly looking to authentication as a way of reducing phishing, spoofing, and other forms of spam. Messages that do not "pass" authentication checks are much more likely to end up in a customer’s junk folder or be blocked altogether.
As efforts continue to stem the flow of phishing and spam, the DMA, along with ISPs, mailbox providers and the Federal Trade Commission, have actively supported marketplace-based authentication solutions. The DMA has created several best practice documents and white papers that help marketers understand authentication protocols and improve delivery rates for commercial e-mails. We also have numerous tips for consumers on how to guard against spam, phishing and spoofing. More information is available at www.the-dma.org/antispam.
The DMA estimates that legitimate commercial e-mail resulted in approximately $39 billion in sales in 2004, including about $9 billion in small business sales. "We believe that e-mail can deliver great value for consumers and more dollars for the U.S. and global economies if scams proliferated through spam and phishing/spoofing can be reduced or eliminated," said Louis Mastria, vice president, interactive & emerging media, DMA.
There are two major types of e-mail authentication: IP-based and cryptographic. Their goal is the same—that is, to create a master source against which to validate e-mail messages. Authentication helps create accountability, something spammers have not had to worry about. Much of today's spam comes from senders who forge certain aspects of e-mail messages, such as the domain name in the visible "from" field.
Authentication also makes it difficult to forge IP addresses or the cryptographic signatures utilized by e-mail authentication systems. As these technologies achieve critical mass in the marketplace, someone sending an e-mail will be forced to accurately represent its origin, or else it will not be delivered. Billions of spam messages could be completely removed from circulation, meaning less clutter in e-mail boxes.
About the DMA
The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is the leading global trade association of business and nonprofit organizations using and supporting direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates industry standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the entire direct marketing process. Founded in 1917, DMA today has more than 4,800 corporate, affiliate, and chapter members from the US and 46 other nations, including 55 companies listed on the Fortune 100.
In 2005, companies will spend more than $161 billion dollars on direct marketing in the United States. Measured against total U.S. sales, these advertising expenditures are expected to generate $1.85 trillion in increased sales in 2005, or 7% of the $26 trillion in total sales in the U.S. economy (which includes intermediate sales). All together, direct marketing will account for 10.3% of total U.S. GDP in 2005.