Advertising.Com Joins NAI to Fight Spam

The FTC Spam Forum last week seems to have caused a ripple effect, especially for the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) Email Service Provider Coalition. The membership of the organization has grown from just seven members when it was formed in January to protect the appropriate use of email as a marketing and business communication tool to almost three dozen today, with being the latest addition.

Earlier this week, announced it would join the coalition, hoping to build upon the strength of its email marketing policies and principles.

Scott Ferber, CEO of Baltimore-based, said that only by "working together can we ensure the continued growth and acceptance of email as an essential marketing medium."

Ferber said that even though several other industry associations are taking steps to fight spam, "all of us [email service providers] feel there's not been enough activity in this area." He said the NAI seems to "have the greatest momentum and highest degree of likelihood of solving the challenges we're facing." will serve on the Coalition's Legislative, Technology and Communications committees. Echoing the sentiments of many marketers after the FTC Spam Forum, Ferber said that it would have been nice to have more representation of the marketers' point of view at the conference, but since that was not the case, improving communication is his first priority.

The Coalition, Ferber said, is representing the email service providers' point of view, not so much the position of the consumer anti-spam organizations.

"The consumer advocacy groups have a legitimate concern about inappropriate content getting through," he said. "At the same time as in all cases there is a great degree of valuable information. I myself run an email filter that attempts to screen out inappropriate content and at times I lose valuable email." He explained that going to the extreme with blacklists is not going to help and "it's going to reduce the killer app of email. At the same time we can't allow unabated email marketing under false pretenses."

The solution? "Give a little both ways." Ferber advocates NAI's Project LUMOS, which is an indisputable nationwide registry of senders. "This is a valuable medium, paying to play is not a bad idea," he says.

As for technology and legislation, Ferber hopes that the industry will come with a technological solution before the government gets too involved. He hesitated to use the term "self-policing," but said that the most important thing we can do as an industry is "solve this ourselves," and if that doesn't work, collaborate with legislative and consumer groups to find a solution.

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