In The Face of Spam

According to Forrester Research, consumers are buying fewer products and services advertised through e-mail, even though marketers continue to push, with more than a third of the messages unsolicited. Of the consumers surveyed who had been online for less than a year, 18% said they often bought items advertised through e-mail last year, while only 6% report buying such items this year. But, Jupiter Media Metrix reports that commercial e-mail in the United States is expected to triple to 424 billion messages by 2005.

The dangers of bad e-mail marketing practices are real, though, as reported be Matt Hicks of eWeek. Jupiter confirms that spam is expected to consistently account for about 39% of those increasing e-mail messages.

Hicks says that eighteen states have laws in place regarding spam. Penalties can include fines for sending unsolicited e-mail messages that don't follow prescribed labeling provisions and for not having processes allowing recipients to be taken off e-mail lists, called opting out. In addition, federal legislation is in the works, and dozens of countries in Europe have spam laws with even tougher provisions that in some cases ban commercial e-mail unless a recipient had requested to receive it, a process called opting in.

And, spam watchdog groups such as Mail Abuse Prevention System LLC, or MAPS, and major Internet service providers are becoming more active in blocking domains of companies considered to be spammers.

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