Proof the CAN-SPAM Act Works
Posted on July 30th, 2008 at 11:55 am by Admin
Ken Magill recently wrote a smart piece urging anti-spam activists to admit once and for all that the CAN-SPAM Act is working. Activists like to dismiss the act as an ineffectual joke, due to the increase in spam since the legislation was passed. However, the anti-spam crowd ingores the fact that the CAN-SPAM act has been successfully put to use at least 100 times to date.
The proof that CAN-SPAM works lies in the many fines and indictments bestowed upon CAN-SPAM violators. Robert Solloway was sentenced to a four year prison term for spamming. Adam Vitale was sentenced to 30 months behind bars and $187,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to spamming AOL. Spear Systems just settled with the FTC for $29,000 for spamming consumers with false dieting info. The FTC has forced hefty settlements on spammers, time and time again, as a result of the CAN-SPAM Act.
The CAN-SPAM Act works so well, in fact, that predatory CAN-SPAM plaintiffs have emerged to force settlements on legitimate advertisers and networks. Email marketers striving for compliance settle out of fear and necessity because they might not have legal counsel enough to successfully defend against CAN-SPAM.
The CAN-SPAM Act is obviously working, so it is crucial for marketers to cover all their legal bases and make compliance a priority from the start. This includes having proper counsel in place and having the visibility to enforce contracts with affiliates and third parties. Complying with CAN-SPAM not only ensures freedom from legal hassle and resulting financial hardship, it is the underpinning for a trusted reputation and ultimately, increased deliverabilty.
FTC Settles CAN-SPAM Case
Posted on July 28th, 2008 at 2:06 pm by Admin
The FTC voted to accept settlement terms in a case they filed in October 2007 against Spear Systems Inc, alleging the company made false weight loss claims about its products in unsolicited emails. The emails were accused by the FTC of having false from lines, deceptive subject lines, and no working opt-out link.
The Spear defendants must pay a $29,000 fine and are barred from violating the CAN-SPAM Act and from making any unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of any food. The FTC is continuing litigation with Xavier Ratelle, another defendant named in the 2007 anti-spam case.
For more information visit the DM News Article by Dianna Dillworth here.
Another Spam King Is Sentenced
Posted on July 25th, 2008 at 12:30 pm by Admin
Robert Solloway was sentenced to four years in prison, 200 hours of community service, and three years probation after pleading guilty to charges of fraud, spamming and tax evasion brought in 2007. The decision is important for future cases, since no standard guidelines for spamming sentences exist.
Recently, criminal spammers have received sentences ranging from 21 months to nine years behind bars, so prosecutors were pushing for a harsher sentence for Solloway of seven to nine years. Back in 1999, Solloway was apologetic when slapped on the wrist for spamming activities in California, but bragged about not having to pay civil penalties and moved to another state to promptly continue spamming. One might say of his prision sentence, “He had it coming.” Hopefully, this and other spam sentences will send a strong message to online criminals.
Click here to read the full PC World article by Nancy Gohring.
The FTC’s Strategic Push for Privacy
Posted on July 24th, 2008 at 11:08 am by Admin
With an increase in concern over the online tracking of consumer behavior, many are calling for new privacy laws to be passed sooner rather than later. However, in a recent interview with the FTC’s director of consumer protection, Lydia B. Parnes, Saul Hansell discovered that new internet privacy legislation may not be the smartest approach for the FTC.
The main argument that a rush to legislation would be a mistake is that the internet advertising industry constantly changes and evolves, and passing laws that pertain to the industry at this particular moment may not be relevant or effective in enforcing privacy in the long term. Also, no one seems to know exactly which consumer dangers privacy legislation would be aimed at preventing. There is obvious concern over identity theft and misuse of personal data or medical records as a result of tracking.
Parnes compared privacy and tracking issues to the CAN-SPAM Act, which was not passed until 2003. It took legislators and the industry several years after the onslaught of spam to develop suitable regulations to match industry best practices. Through litigation trial and error, the FTC has been able to discover the limitations of CAN-SPAM. As a result, CAN-SPAM has undergone continuous legal review and has been updated accordingly. The FTC feels that a more effective way to promote compliance is to push for the industry to engage in voluntary self-regulation.
Visit the original article here:
NY Times: The FTC’s Bully Pulpit on Privacy by Saul Hansell. January 21, 2008.
New FTC CAN-SPAM Rules Officially in Effect
Posted on July 8th, 2008 at 4:46 pm by Admin
The four new FTC CAN-SPAM regulations officially went into effect on Monday, July 7, forty-five days after they appeared in the Federal Register. The updated regs have multiple compliance implications for LashBack clients as well as the entire email marketing industry. The four new rules streamline the opt-out process for consumers and require multiple advertisers in messages to designate a single sender. In addition, they clarify a broader definition of the term “person” to include corporations and organizations, as well as validate p.o. boxes and private mail boxes as physical postal addresses.
The Four New CAN-SPAM Rules
Rule 1: A broad definition of the term “Person” is added beyond natural persons to include all business types and non-profits.
Rule 2: Establishes “Designated Sender” to Simplify Compliance for Multi-Advertiser Messages.
Rule 3: P.O. Boxes and Private Mailboxes Compliant with USPS Regulations Meet Physical Address Requirements.
Rule 4: Consumer’s Only Requirement for Opt-Out is His or Her Email Address and Opt-Out Preference. No fees can be charged. No other information requested to authenticate or process opt-out. No login or other road block may be placed in the opt-out process other than sending a reply message or visiting a single unsubscribe landing page on website to deliver opted-out email address for suppression.
LashBack encourages you to vistit the FTC’s website for more information on compliance and view the new CAN-SPAM updates appearing in detail in the Federal Register. Additionally, we’ve included a link to industry coverage on the new regs by Ken Magill and a MarketingSherpa Podcast explaining the new rules.
ICANN Approves an Unlimited Number of Top Level Domains
Posted on July 2nd, 2008 at 6:40 pm by Admin
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has approved a plan to allow for an unlimited number of top-level domains. The plan will allow any established business or entitiy to self-select and apply for its own top level domain. For example, instead of the typical .com, .org, or .net, we could see new, more brand specific, or industry specific domains such as .dell or .computer. Also, city-based domains will be considered. For example, San Francisco based sites may use .sf, or London related sites may be available at .london.
The stakeholder-recommended new domains represent limitless opportunities for online business and an exponential expansion of the Internet. However, the domains will not be sold, and ICANN will have a controlled, limited application process. The plan is to have objection-based mechanisms to prevent trademark stealing and offensive domain names.
A final version of the implementation plan must be approved before the application process for new domains can begin. ICANN is working to publish the final plan by early 2009 and hopes to begin registering new domains by next year’s second quarter. Click here to view the press release.
MAAWG Dictates New Best Practices to Fight Botnet Spam
Posted on July 2nd, 2008 at 5:45 pm by Admin
The global anti-spam group, Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group(MAAWG) met in Heidelburg, Germany last week to agree upon and present new industry guidelines aimed at improving inbox security. The new regualtions focus on blocking botnet spam sent from dynamic IP addresses, and distinguishing legitimiate forwarded email from spam.
The first MAAWG paper sets standards for sharing the range of dynamic IP addresses amongst ISPs to identify botnet spam. Most users connect to the internet using the dynamic address, but their email is filtered through a server and sent from a static IP. Email being sent from malware infected computers can be easily identified because it is generally sent directly from the computer’s dynamic IP address, rather than being filtered through an ISP’s mail server. By making lists of dynamic IP addresses available, ISPs can tweak their spam filters to monitor and block suspicious dynamic IP messages before they reach user inboxes.
The second set of guidelines by MAAWG addresses email forwarding best practices to distinguish legitimate consumers from spammers. Many users forward mail from one address to another in relays through ISPs, but ISPs have started using automated filters that block addresses that have sent higher volumes of forwarded messages. The problem is that legitimate messages are blocked as well. One solution MAWG suggests is separating servers that send mail from servers that receive mai, in order to identify messages sent from suspicous looking domains more easily.
Both MAAWG papers are available at www.MAAWG.org. MAAWG’s press release is available here.
More information on the guidelines can be found in this article by Jeremy Kirk at PC World.