WASHINGTON - A group of large e-mail marketing companies proposed a detailed set of privacy standards Monday, hoping the measures will amount to a sort of "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" for Internet direct advertisers.
The Responsible Electronic Communications Alliance, which includes DoubleClick, 247 Media, Bigfoot Interactive and ClickAction Inc., says the standards will cut down on the number of unwanted e-mails, or spam, that Internet users receive.
A survey conducted last year by the Gartner Group research firm found that 91 percent of e-mail users receive spam at least once a week, and most of them favor either regulating spam or banning it altogether.
"We think this is going to have a major impact and eliminate a lot of the clutter in people's mailboxes," said attorney Christopher Wolf, RECA's president.
The group presented the standards Monday morning at an industry trade show in Boston. They include measures that restrict advertisers from sending solicitations to consumers without previous consent and allow consumers to remove themselves from advertisers' mailing lists.
The rules would be binding for RECA members, Wolf said.
He said industry executives will review the proposal, which will be presented to the Federal Trade Commission in Washington later this year.
The standards are based on practices endorsed by the FTC last summer, Wolf said.
"I think our proposal right now goes further than anything being considered on (Capitol) Hill and anything that I've seen in respect to e-mail marketing," he said.
The standards, if approved by the FTC and adopted by the industry, would amount to a virtual "seal of approval" issued by the industry group, much like those provided by the Better Business Bureau, Good Housekeeping or Underwriters Laboratories, the independent, non-profit product safety testing and certification organization.
FTC officials were not immediately available to comment on the proposal.
On the Net:
Responsible Electronic Communications Alliance: http://www.ResponsibleEmail.org