Is Truste a true spam blocker?
Fran Maier, executive director, Truste
"Consumers consider spam as an intrusion on their privacy," Fran Maier, Truste's executive director, said in a statement.
"Consumers will now have guideposts to allow them to easily verify the legitimacy of e-mail messages, gain greater control over their in-box, and turn to a third party to resolve disputes," Maier said.
So far, companies including Microsoft, DoubleClick and Topica have agreed to support the program.
The move comes as consumers grapple with an ever-increasing amount of spam to their in-boxes. By 2006, consumers are expected to receive an average of 1,400 pieces of junk e-mail to mailboxes every year, according to Internet researcher Jupiter Media Metrix.
It also comes as marketers seek to draw lines around what defines spam vs. legitimate commercial e-mail. Last week, the 5,000-member Direct Marketing Association announced new mandatory guidelines that emphasized notice and choice for ending e-mail sales pitches. The organization said that it hoped to establish best practices for its members to help avert the need for federal regulations surrounding commercial e-mail.
Gartner analyst Joyce Graff says that while the short-term goal is to regulate e-mail at the state and national levels, the wider goal is to control junk e-mail throughout the entire Web--where political boundaries are moot.
Finally, the sender is accountable to Truste's dispute resolution program, in which consumers can complain about a company's e-mail practices.
Truste will unveil the new seal program, called Trusted Sender, at the 2nd Annual Privacy and Security Summit in Washington, D.C.
Other supporters of the program include ClickAction, the International Association of Privacy Officers and the Association of Interactive Marketing.