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IAB sets e-mail marketing rules

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry trade group, sought to distance itself and members from spam on Tuesday by introducing new rules for the ethical handling of bulk e-mail lists. In its first initiative in six years, the New York-based trade group, whose members include America Online, Yahoo and MSN, set out rules for members that buy or sell access to e-mail addresses for marketing purposes. Called the Ethical eMail Guarantee, the rules state that a list provider must guarantee and be able to prove that all e-mail addresses are those from people who have agreed to be contacted by third parties. In addition, a list provider must honor unsubscribe requests from consumers, among other terms.

"There are some who look at e-mail marketing as the problem child of interactive advertising," Mike Mayor, CEO of e-mail company NetCreations and chairman of the IAB's eMail committee, said in a statement. "The first step is to separate the responsible marketers from" spammers.