ESPC, IAB, and TRUSTE Announce Email Marketing Pledge
Three Leading Interactive Associations Definitively State That Unsolicited Commercial Email Must Not Be Sent
New York, NY, October 22, 2003 -- Opening up a new front on the war on spam, three leading interactive associations today announced their joint agreement that unsolicited commercial email (spam) must not be sent. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), NAI's Email Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC) and TRUSTe represent a combined membership of 1,509 interactive leaders.
Acknowledging the critical importance of consumer consent in email marketing, the three organizations today release the clearest, most concise set of email marketing guidelines to date, the "Email Marketing Pledge." By requiring informed consent before sending email, the Pledge will increase industry accountability by creating a distinct line between spam, and legitimate email marketing. As a result, consumers will be better able to trust those organizations that have taken this pledge and ISPs will be better able to filter those messages from organizations which have not.
The Email Marketing Pledge establishes concrete definitions as to what constitutes unsolicited commercial email (spam), prior business relationships, informed consent, and various forms of opt-in, providing a clear path toward distinguishing legitimate uses of email from spam. According to the Pledge:
A full copy of the Email Marketing Pledge, containing more information and important definitions, is available for download at www.networkadvertising.org/espc/pledge.php and www.iab.net/standards/iab_email_guidelines.php.
- Unsolicited Commercial Email must not be sent;
- Commercial email must not be sent to an individual's email address unless there is an existing business relationship between the sender and the addressee or the sender has obtained prior informed consent from the individual;
- Every commercial email must include an opportunity for the recipient to unsubscribe from receiving such email in the future;
- Commercial email must not include address fields, subject lines and message bodies that are misleading, false, or deceptive;
- Email addresses must not be gathered through surreptitious methods.
"New media marketing requires a higher level of consent and consumer control than traditional direct mail, telemarketing and door-to-door channels", Trevor Hughes, executive director, ESPC, said. "Through our work with TRUSTe and IAB, the interactive media industry is drawing a clear line as to what is appropriate in email marketing by developing the high water mark for guidelines."
"This pledge is a meaningful promise to consumers," said Fran Maier, executive director and president of TRUSTe. "It requires companies to respect their customer's preferences. That means more protection for consumer's in-boxes, more choice, more privacy." TRUSTe will encourage the 1000+ Web sites currently bearing their privacy seal to take the pledge. "We want to restore trust to email and these standards will help make that happen." said Maier.
"With its strong stance on the key issue in the spam debate, consent, this Pledge demonstrates our commitment to respect consumers' privacy and help protect them against unwanted email," said Greg Stuart, President and CEO, IAB. "Our Pledge sends a strong message to consumers, legislators, marketers and other key constituents that the interactive marketing industry is dedicated to developing effective guidelines for interactive channels."
The Pledge is the latest document to be issued by the ESPC in relation to its fight against spam. Recently, the organization issued a white paper that outlined the technical specifications of the ESPC's proposed "Project Lumos" registry. Both the White Paper and the Email Marketing Pledge can be downloaded at http://www.projectlumos.com. The IAB Ethical Email Guarantee suggests guidelines for the manner in which email lists are obtained. The Guarantee can be viewed at http://www.iab.net/standards/iab_email_guarantee.php. TRUSTe has announced standards required for certification to enter IronPort's recently launched Bonded Sender program. The requirements for participation in the program can be found at http://www.bondedsender.com/standards.jsp.
About the IAB:
Founded in 1996, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) represents the leading companies in the interactive space. Membership includes companies that are actively engaged in, and support the sale of interactive advertising in addition to being responsible for selling over 75% of online advertising in the United States. IAB members include AOL, CNET Networks, DoubleClick, MSN, Google, Overture, The Walt Disney Internet Group, Yahoo! and over 150 others. On behalf of its members, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices, fields interactive effectiveness research and educates the advertising industry regarding the use of interactive advertising. For more information on the IAB please visit www.iab.net.
About the Email Sender and Provider Coalition:
The Email Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC) was formed in November 2002 by the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) to fight spam while protecting the delivery of legitimate email. The ESPC is comprised of 37 members including aQuantive, Blue Dolphin, Digital Impact, DoubleClick, Experian, GotMarketing, IMN, and Roving Software. For more information on ESPC or Project Lumos, please visit www.projectlumos.com.
TRUSTe is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to enabling individuals and organizations to establish trusting relationships based on respect for personal identity and information in the evolving networked world. Founded in 1997, TRUSTe runs the world's largest online privacy seal program with nearly 1,300 Web sites certified, including all the internet portals and leading brands such as IBM, Oracle, Intuit, Microsoft and eBay. TRUSTe also acts as an Independent Email Trust Authority, currently providing oversight, standards, certification and dispute resolution to the Bonded Sender email program. For more information on TRUSTe please visit www.truste.org.
blast! PR for ESPC
Fitzgerald Communications for TRUSTe