Computer users plagued by unsolicited junk email may see light at the end of the tunnel after the UK Direct Marketing Association said it was proposing an international preference system so people can opt out.
The issue was highlighted by a product manager at a hardware company, who wished to remain anonymous. He said he had received 300 email messages today. Of those, a high proportion was junk mail, including an email offer sent to him by First Direct. He said: ?It takes me half an hour to discard the rubbish and get on with my job.?
A spokesperson at the UK Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which has over 600 members, said the issue was being addressed. ?There are a lot of individual companies looking at advertising on the Internet and directly using email,? she said. ?We have a New Media Council looking at this. There?s been a lot of controversy about direct email, particularly from the US.?
She said that the DMA met with other international direct marketing organisations in New Orleans in October and presented a set of proposals to them. Kay Beckett, who runs the New Media Council, proposed that a list of people who wish to opt out of receiving junk emails should be adopted. A similar scheme exists for junk snail mail.
?We?re keen that any form of marketing is used properly and people who don?t want the opportunity to receive [direct email] can opt out,? the spokesperson said.
In the US, there have been several court cases surrounding the right of companies to send junk email over Internet services. An attempt by freedom of expression groups to support unlimited email seems to have stalled in the courts.
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