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DMA Anti-Spam Working Strategy

The Direct Marketing Association is committed to upholding the principles outlined in this working document in its continuing efforts to combat spam while protecting legitimate email marketing as an emerging and promising marketing channel.

Adherence to the Four Pillars of Responsible Email Marketing
No Harvesting

No surreptitious acquisition of email addresses via automated mechanisms without the consumer/customer's awareness and agreement. This includes prohibition on dictionary attacks or other mechanisms for creating email addresses without the awareness and prior approval of the addressee.

Universal Opt-Out

All commercial emailed communications must include a standardized opt-out. This would include communications to customers as well as prospects and would utilize a standardized symbol. The symbol would increase awareness date stamp as well as the URL being opted out from. The user would be encouraged to print out a copy of the screen including this information and save it for possible prosecution if additional emails are received after a legislatively mandated grace period.

The Gold List

Companies agreeing to adhere to principles 1-3 would sign an affidavit to that effect and post a bond of, at minimum, $500 per corporate entity. A violation of the principles would result in forfeiture of the bond. In addition, a $100 annual fee would be paid for participating in the Gold List program. These monies would be used for enforcement as indicated below, (see point 6 below.) The Gold List would be provided on a weekly basis to all participating ISP's.

Federal Legislation

The DMA supports Federal legislation that provides appropriate penalties for violation of principles 1-3. In addition, legislation should preempt state anti-spam laws and provide for both civil and criminal penalties.


Significant energy must be focused on enforcing existing fraud laws as well as the Federal law described above, (see point 5 above) Federal and state law enforcement agencies would be encouraged to focus additional resources in this area. In addition, an industry-financed group would be formed to provide professional investigation and prosecutorial resources entirely focused on the spam problem. This so-called "Silver Platter Program" would provide federal law enforcement agencies with adequate information to carry forward appropriate prosecutions. The effort would be funded by the DMA, company donations and the Gold List fees.

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