Spam Act needs to keep pace with marketing campaigns: Industry

ADMA, IAB say innovations such as `send to a friend’ email campaigns have emerged since legislation was written and require constant vigilance

The Spam Act, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this December, needs to keep up with innovations in marketing if it is to remain successful and relevant, according to the Australian Data-driven Marketing Association (ADMA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

<i>The Spam Act</i> came into law on 12 December 2003 and regulates the sending of marketing emails, SMS and instant messages. As part of its introduction, it became compulsory for consumers who receive marketing communications to be given the option to opt out.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the act has helped reduce the amount of spam over the years. However, ADMA CEO Jodie Sangster told CMO that the legislation needs to keep pace with the changing dynamic of email marketing and emergence of new campaigns such as `refer a friend’ online campaigns.

“Technology has changed the way we do things and you’re applying a piece of legislation from 10 years ago to something quite new,” she said.

Customer complaints about a `send to friend’ email landed McDonald’s Australia in hot water with ACMA in 2012. The regulator found emails sent via the McDonald’s Happy Meal website using the ‘send to friends’ option were sent without ensuring a friend’s consent. The emails had no unsubscribe option either, which is required under the Act. The `send to a friend’ function was removed from the Happy Meal website in February 2012.

“With the McDonald’s case, that was standard industry practice. That is how the majority of companies in Australia were doing a `refer a friend’ campaign,” Sangster said. “The regulator needs to work with the marketing industry because often, the techniques that are used in marketing are often not understood by people who don’t work in marketing.”

IAB Australia CEO, Alice Manners, said the Spam Act is “always worth reviewing” after 10 years to ensure clarity, and highlighted the McDonalds campaign as an example of why. However, she added that spam in Australia is not the issue it was 10 years ago.

For example, Australia was listed in Sophos’ top 10 spamming countries in 2003. As of 2013, it now comes in at place 44.

“The Act has had an overall positive impact as it is not a consumer issue of concern anymore,” Manners said. “You just need to visit some of our neighbouring Asia-Pacific markets where spam is rampant to appreciate the status in Australia currently.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why are we dubious about deep learning?

The prospect of deep learning gives those of us in the industry something to get really excited about, and something to be nervous about, at the same time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Why you can’t afford to fail at CX in 2019

In 1976 Apple launched. The business would go on to change the game, setting the bar for customer experience (CX). Seamless customer experience and intuitive designs gave customers exactly what they wanted, making other service experiences pale in comparison.

Damian Kernahan

Founder and CEO, Proto Partners

Natural born leaders

Many business and marketing managers progressing to leadership positions face evolving their focus from operational matters to strategic decision making and planning.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Do you need a loan to pay off your credit or debit? Do you need financial help to set up your own business? Do you need a loan to carry o...

NORA

Facebook: Friction is costing Australian businesses $29 billion a year

Read more

Thanks for writing about chatbots. Definitely bots have the exciting future when it comes to customer engagement, transactional and conve...

Sanket Nair

7 businesses successfully implementing chatbots

Read more

Interesting article but what about the employees? There needs to be access to quick cash for everyone involved lest we have yet another '...

Joel Pencer

Suncorp outlines customer investments, digitisation as key to business improvement

Read more

Just printed out this Brad Howarth screed to read tomorrow. I need a good laugh once in a while. Or maybe shed some manly-man tears at th...

Larry A Singleton

What a diversity agenda has done for Kellogg's staff and innovation engagement

Read more

Morons. PC Nazis infiltrating and subverting every level in our lives.These scum have destroyed our education system.Read FrontPage Magaz...

Larry A Singleton

What a diversity agenda has done for Kellogg's staff and innovation engagement

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in