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The End Of Affiliate Marketing?

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  • #585136

    Fellow Affiliates,

    There’s something very serious happening in the Affiliate Marketing World that we thought you should know about. It’s yet another problem being caused by the U.S Federal Trade Commission (FTC), poking their noses in a business they clearly don’t understand. However, we can still stop it IF we act now and let our voices be heard.

    Specifically, the FTC is considering changes to the CAN-SPAM Act that will require both Merchants and their Affiliates alike to maintain and share a universal Suppression List of people who have opted-out of mailing lists. While we support the act, the FTC’s idea of a universal opt-out list will NOT work. Spammers will not comply and honest business people like you and I will be hurt, VERY BADLY!

    We need to make clear to the FTC just how much damage these sorts of regulations would do to legitimate businesses and to consumers, while doing nothing to stop the problem CAN-SPAM was passed to address. Marlon Sanders, a prominent Internet Marketing Consultant, has created a Website with a pre-written letter for you to personalize and send to the FTC. We urge you to fill-in this form today:

    Your comments must be submitted Online, by Mail, or by FedEx BEFORE APRIL 20, 2004.


    Spammers will not comply and honest business people like you and I will be hurt, VERY BADLY!

    OK, you may be right. But it’s 2 am over here and my thought processes aren’t as clear as they might be. So my question is this: why would honest business people be hurt by this ? I clicked through to the link you provided and there were no reasons given there either.


    Why would honest business people be hurt by this?

    Basically, a universal Suppression List would require Affiliates to remove all the opt-out subscribers that were removed from the Merchant’s list, before an Affiliate could send an eMail to their own opt-in list promoting that particular Merchant.

    In turn, the Merchant would have to remove all the opt-out subscribers from their opt-in list that were removed from ALL their Affiliates’ lists, before that Merchant could send an eMail to their own list promoting their own product.

    Here’s the BIG problem…the onus is on the Merchant! So, if an Affiliate sends a promotion, via eMail, to their list and a particular subscriber on that list opted-out of the Merchant’s list prior to that, that Affiliates’ eMail is deemed SPAM!

    Here’s why honest business people would be hurt by this:

    1) As an Affiliate for, for example, you would be SPAMMING your list if just 1 subscriber on that list unsubscribed to any of SportingBet’s lists, and makes a complaint. This is certainly good reason for any Operator to remove you from their Affiliate Program and cease paying commissions on your Players.

    2) As an Operator, SportingBet would be SPAMMING their own list if just 1 subscriber on that list un-subscribed from an Affiliate’s list that sent an eMail promoting Sportingbet. This is certainly good reason for an Operator to work with only a select few Affiliates, or drop the Affilate side of their business entirely.

    3) At $100 per complaint, Affiliate Programs all over the Internet would shut-down simply because it would not make any sense to carry that burden of risk, especially when Merchants have little or no control over the actions of their Affiliates.

    The stupid thing about it is that, it will have no effect on the businesses of real SPAMMERS, because the real spammers would simply pick-up the universal Suppression List and start blasting away. Most importantly, it will severely harm honest businesses that have 100% opt-in databases that could be construed as SPAM based on this new proposed law.

    I’m not a legal expert on this matter, but that’s how I interpret the pending law, and why Marlon Sanders is making such a big deal about it. So, if you’re not going to petition this law from the Merchant’s perspective, please make a petition on behalf of yourself as an honest-working Affiliate. I, personally, think it’s about time we band-together and rid of these FTC nuisances!


    Thanks for the explanation. Got it. That’s a pretty dumb idea. It’s also impractical and I think might fall by the wayside when someone points out that you’ll increase the amount of spam by sharing lists not decrease it.


    The seriousness of this potential act is being felt all over the Internet. Today, I receive Allan Gardyne’s Newsletter from And, here’s what some of the World’s most respected Internet Marketers had to say in his Newsletter:

    Dr. Ralph Wilson of says “we should penalize the spammers, not legitimate businesses who are trying to sends emails responsibly.”

    Anne Holland of spent hours on the phone grilling FTC Staff Attorney Michael Goodman, who calls what’s happening “suppression list hell”. Anne describes how the Can-Spam Act affects us:

    “If anyone in the US clicks on a commercial email message’s opt-out link, their name has to be suppressed from all commercial emails ‘from’ the product or service brand that the initial message was about. (‘From’ means whether you push the send button yourself, or an outside marketer sends an email to anyone on your behalf.) Sounds simple – but it’s not.

    The problem is it’s not about opting out of a list as most permission mailers understand it. It’s about opting out of a brand name. The email recipient is saying, ‘I don’t want to ever get another promotional message via email about this brand name again, no matter what list my name is on’.”

    If you’re an Affiliate Manager, you need to take action immediately. At the very least, please warn your Affiliates about this – but do it before April 20th. Time is running out!

    Visit this link NOW:


    Email marketing is getting harder and harder all the time.

    As a sponsor, we are very aware of the risks of spamming and we do everything we can to prevent and avoid it. But as you point out, it is very difficult to keep everybody happy. We occasionalyy even get a spam complaint on our own legitimate opt-in email lists. People forget they signed up, or for whatever reason they decide they don’t want to be on a list any more, and all of a sudden you are accused of being a “spammer.”

    I hate to be negative, but I’m starting to get the feeling that email marketing may be virtually eliminated in a couple of years if the ISP’s and government agencies can’t figure out a way to shut down the true spammers.

    If the majority of your business comes from email marketing today, I strongly encourage you to disverisfy so that you are not left out in the cold if and when the hammer comes down on email marketing.


    I don’t do much of it but I can see everyones point. Here is a copy of the email I wrote to the commissioners:

    To the Commissioners,

    There are two problems with your suppression list ideas.

    One. These guys (who send billions of SPAM) are experts. They didn’t just “get rich quick”

    They are seasoned hackers who understand how the internet works. What this will do (suppression lists):

    1. Make a HUGE list be available to unscroupulous hackers who will bribe, steal, go through garbage etc, to eventually find your list and use exploit IT.

    2. While legitimate business owners will be forced to subscribe to the law, spammers have already demonstrated they will not abide by the law. So it will put us out of business and make business easier for them.

    Respectfully yours,
    Bernard Richter
    POB 868
    Hayfork, California, 96041


    I think email marketing is going to get even worse. My guess is that some programs and affiliates who cannot buy PPC anymore may resort to tactics like spamming as an alternative.

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