|Received:||3/29/2004 2:09:33 PM|
|State:||Not in the US|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
I am opposed to the implementation of a National Do Not Email Registry (NDNER). Just as with CAN-SPAM, spammers will not honor the registry, and legitimate companies trying to comply with an NDNER will be the real victims. Worst of all, an NDNER will have a chilling effect on small business growth via the Internet. Small businesses, wary of litigation, will turn away from the very marketing tool--email--that offers the highest return for the lowest cost to their businesses. Establishing a network of private CAN-SPAM violation bounty hunters will only exacerbate the negative impact on legitimate businesses. Bounty hunters don't go after the difficult prey first--they go after the easiest prey. Any the easiest prey will initially be legitimate US businesses who fail to dot an "i" or cross a "t" in their CAN-SPAM compliance efforts. Bounty hunters will mine these targets for their deep pockets and the true problem--spammers--will continue to grow. Rather than a NDNER, spam should be addressed through industry initiatives and federal enforcement of existing laws that make spammer activities illegal. Another layer of administrative law will only increase the cost of compliance for legitimate businesses. No one can argue that spam isn't a problem. However, with consumers divided on what spam even is--nearly 15% believe that it is ANY commercial email--implementation would disproportionately penalize those companies that have taken the time to build permission-based email marketing lists and follow emerging ethical standards of online marketing conduct. Email has revolutionized American business marketing, but the revolution is not over. Implementation of a NDNER will have a chilling effect on email's use by legitimate companies and NO EFFECT on spammers. This has already happened with CAN-SPAM's most innocuous provisions. Accordingly, I urge the FTC to reject the notion of a NDNER and instead embrace a cooperative relationship with the Internet community (ISPs and permission-based marketers) to come up with technological and other solutions that attack the true problem--rogue spammers without allegiance to country or respect for law.