CIO Executive Council TM Members Call For Do-Not-Spam Registry

Framingham, MA—June 15, 2004—A new poll of chief information officers (CIOs) conducted by the CIO Executive CouncilTM (founded by IDG’s CXO Media Inc. and CIO magazine) reveals the majority (55%) of CIOs want the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch a “Do-Not-Spam” registry similar to the “Do-Not-Call” registry launched in June 2003. This news comes as the FTC prepares its forthcoming report to Congress on the feasibility of creating a “Do-Not-Spam” list.

The Do-Not-Spam registry was originally introduced in the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act). Launched January 1, 2004, the CAN-SPAM Act also sets civil penalties for common spamming practices such as falsified subject lines. Interestingly, results of the CIO Executive Council poll show the majority of CIO respondents (59%) find the CAN-SPAM Act to be “not at all helpful” in deterring the amount and type of spam their organizations receive. Only five percent (5%) find it to be “very or extremely” helpful.

“Spam is an ongoing headache for CIOs who are looking for more effective ways to ease spam’s disruptiveness,” says Martha Heller, Director of the CIO Executive Council. “Our members are holding out hope that a Do-Not-Spam registry will provide the solution and relief that the CAN-SPAM Act has not.”

Despite their spam struggles and expenses (39% say their companies spent more than $100,000 in the past year trying to control spam), CIOs are divided as to how spammers should be prosecuted. Forty-percent (40%) believe longer jail sentences will provide a greater deterrent while 28% disagree and 30% are unsure. However, most CIOs (58%) agree that spam offenders should be prosecuted at both the federal and state levels.

“Catching spammers is hard enough but determining the right punishment is almost the greater challenge,” says Mark Hall, General Manager of the CIO Executive Council and CIO of CXO Media Inc. “The state of Maryland imposes longer jail sentences while the federal CAN-SPAM Act imposes greater fines. The jury is still out on what type of penalty will be the best deterrent.”

Complete Poll Results:

1.) On January 1, 2004, Congress passed the "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003" (i.e., CAN-SPAM Act). How helpful has the CAN-SPAM Act been in deterring the amount and type of spam your organization receives?

2% Extremely helpful

3% Very helpful

5% Helpful

20% Somewhat helpful

59% Not at all helpful

9% Unsure

2.) Has the CAN-SPAM Act had a noticeable effect on your IT operations?

8% Yes 83% No 7% Unsure

3.) Has the CAN-SPAM Act hindered your company's marketing efforts and/or outgoing email communication (newsletters, invitations, etc.)?

13% Yes 76% No 8% Unsure

4.) Should the US Federal Trade Commission launch a "Do-Not-Spam" registry list akin to the "Do-Not-Call" registry?

55% Yes 27% No 16% Unsure

5.) If no, why not?

34% It would be impossible to enforce

23% It’s a great idea in theory but would never work logistically

18% It would not reduce the amount of spam my company receives

14% It would reverse all the cost-effective benefits email affords individuals and businesses of all sizes

9% It would greatly hinder a company’s ability to market goods and services

6.) According to a new law recently signed by Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich (R), people who falsify their identity, address or subject lines in spam e-mail messages face up to 10 years in jail and fines up to $25,000. (NOTE: The federal CAN-SPAM law permits up to five years in jail and fines up to $6 million). Do you think the terms of this state law—a longer jail sentence but lower fine ceiling—will be more effective in deterring spammers than the terms of the federal CAN-SPAM act?

28% Yes 40% No 30% Unsure

7.) At what level should spam be prosecuted?

19% Federal level

3% State level

58% Both federal and state

14% Neither will be effective

4% Unsure

8.) How much time do you estimate your employees spend filtering SPAM?

28% Less than one hour per week

46% One to five hours per week

8% Five to ten hours per week

12% More than ten hours per week

3% Unsure

9.) If you had to quantify the financial impact of SPAM, how much would you estimate your company has spent in the past year?

1% None

4% Less than $15,000

15% $15,001-$30,000

35% $30,001-$100,000

39% More than $100,000