Westbridge strongly believe that Digital Marketing should follow the Standards Charter as specified by eMMa, the Email Marketing Association. (emmacharter.org/charter/index.htm) .
There are also currently three European directives being proposed in October 2003 which cover this subject:
1. Distance selling directive
The Implementing Regulations cover business to consumer communication in the UK. They do not impose any statutory schemes, rather they rely upon existing voluntary schemes such as the DMA's Email Preference Service.
2. e-Commerce directive
This is due to be implemented by January 2002, It will require all Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) to be easily identifiable as such as soon as it is received. This will enable recipients to automatically filter/ delete messages. In addition, senders of UCE will have to consult available opt-out lists, although the Directive does not mandate the setting up of such lists.The exact form this will take will be decided during a public consultation on draft implementing regulations.
3. Communications data protection directive
This exists in a draft form at the moment and is currently being discussed by Member States and the European Commission. It is unlikely to require implementation in the UK before autumn 2003. The current draft contains a requirement for Member States to adopt an opt-in approach for UCE to natural persons (the understanding is that in the UK this means private individuals and sole traders anywhere in the UK, and Partnerships in England, Wales and Northern Ireland). For legal purposes (e.g. Limited Co's and Plc's), the Directive leaves it up to Member States to adopt whatever measures are felt necessary.
ISP self regulation
Despite regulations imposed by the DTI, most ISP's take responsibility for self-policing the Internet Community. This includes individual company policies regarding UCE or 'spam'. ISP's have slightly different definition of what constitutes UCE, however a good general explanation is as follows:
A single or multiple use message to any mailbox for an individual who did not specifically request the e-mail. This includes both non 'opt-in' purchased e-mail lists and e-mail lists acquired through web harvesting.
Differing definitions of of UCE have lead to varying penalties from ISP's, from warnings to account termination to charges for cleanup. Hotmail is currently actually suing eight 'spammers'. Each ISP has policies stated on their Corporate website.
At Westbridge we maintain a strict 'No Spam' policy which means we do not intend to sell, rent or otherwise give your personal information to a third-party marketing organisation without your consent unless we are obliged to do so by law.
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