How to Battle Spam
The anti-spam CAN-SPAM Act alone won't solve the problem, writes eWEEK guest columnist Helen Roberts.Im responsible for sending 200 million e-mail messages per month. If you didnt know me, youd call me a spammer. But every message was invited by its recipient. As head of a large company responsible for sending legitimate e-mail, I support the recently enacted CAN-SPAM Act. However, this anti-spam legislation alone wont solve the problem. The only way to make sure good e-mail gets through and spam goes away is through a combination of industry self-regulation, consumer education and technology. First, e-mail service providers, anti-spam filter providers and ISPs need to work with organizations such as the E-mail Service Provider Coalition to develop tools and rules that enhance the delivery of legitimate e-mail and eliminate spam.
Second, legitimate e-mailers must adhere to standards that are stricter than those mandated by law. CAN-SPAM requires e-mail to provide an opt-out feature whereby consumers ask marketers not to send them messages. But a strict opt-in feature, in which e-mail is sent only to consumers who specifically request it, is not mandated. E-mailers must require that recipients opt in to their e-mail list before sending messages. The United Kingdom has an opt-in model that has a provision excluding mail from senders with established business relationships with recipients.