Email marketers consider white list to control spam



The email marketing industry is considering creating a 'white list' as a workable solution to combat the global proliferation of unsolicited email messages.

New UK anti-spam law, implementing the EU's Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive, will come in effect on 11 December, carrying fines of up to £5,000.

Email marketers have broadly welcomed the law, which goes some way to clarifying privacy issues for legitimate players. But they point out that spam is produced by untouchable global operators that are breaking existing laws.

While the new law defines more precisely what's meant by communicating on an opt-in basis, it fails to clarify some fine detail, such as the status of lists built before the law comes into force.

Head of the Direct Marketing Association's interactive media division, Robert Dirskovski, said its Email Marketing Council had been discussing the possibility of introducing a white list solution.

This would list those who are entitled to send email, and would be regulated by ISPs and/or a government agency.

Dirskovski said it was a problem that some ISPs block all bulk mail, as up to 25% of legitimate messages weren't being delivered.

At e-rm, chief executive Mike Williams said, 'I don't think you'll be able to stop spam through legislative process. We need some form of gateway that will obliterate it.'

All fresh legislation will do is 'push non-legitimate spammers into darker corners', he said.

Martin Kiersnowski, COO of digital marketing group IPT, said, 'A lot will depend on white lists and proving to ISPs that you're not a spammer. It's important to get to know your ISP.'