Three interactive associations -- The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), The Network Advertising Initiative's Email Service Provider Coalition (ESPC) and TRUSTe -- have joined together to compile a concise set of e-mail marketing guidelines called the "Email Marketing Pledge." By requiring informed consent before sending e-mail, the pledge aims to increase industry accountability by creating a distinct line between spam and legitimate e-mail marketing, according to the three organizations, which represent a combined membership of 1,509 interactive leaders. "New media marketing requires a higher level of consent and consumer control than traditional direct mail, telemarketing and door-to-door channels," says Trevor Hughes, executive director, ESPC. "Through our work with TRUSTe and IAB, the interactive media industry is drawing a clear line as to what is appropriate in e-mail marketing by developing the high-water mark for guidelines." According to the pledge:
- Unsolicited commercial e-mail must not be sent.
- Commercial e-mail must not be sent to an individual's e-mail address unless there is an existing business relationship between the sender and the addressee, or the sender has obtained prior informed consent from the individual.
- Every commercial e-mail must include an opportunity for the recipient to unsubscribe from receiving such e-mail in the future.
- Commercial e-mail must not include address fields, subject lines and message bodies that are misleading, false or deceptive.
- E-mail addresses must not be gathered through surreptitious methods.