Derek Harding wrote a great article on ClicZ today which he concludes by saying: "Absent a law requiring consent, we need a united front on consent. That means our trade groups must make it clear that opt-out is spam and spam is bad for e-mail, bad for our customers, and bad for us. They must state without equivocation or prevarication that consent is a requirement and act to ensure their members adhere to such requirements. Without these actions, we'll be in just as bad shape in 2010 as we are now."
He's saying this because "there's been a great deal of discussion lately about why, after 10 years, e-mail marketing is still struggling with the basics of deliverability and consent." And he his continues by saying that "much of the trouble we see today is of our own making. We messed up, big time."
Why? Because "back in 2003, when the federal government sought to enact anti-spam legislation, a variety of industry groups pushed for, or acquiesced to those who pushed for, weak legislation that didn't actually outlaw spam. They argued that any marketer should be permitted to send one e-mail to anyone they wished and pushed for companies being permitted to send e-mail to anyone with whom they had a prior business relationship.
The end result was the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, nicknamed by some anti-spam activists as the "You CAN-SPAM Act" because it legitimized spam and overrode more restrictive laws in a number of states. If I had a penny for every time a marketer used the excuse "but the lawyers say it's OK" to try to send spam, my trousers would drop. Problem is, the law doesn't clearly and unambiguously require companies to obtain verifiable consent before sending e-mail to individuals."