Porn Spam Crackdown: Warning Labels Now Mandatory

In case you have not been keeping on top of the current events in the online porn industry, I will fill you in on the latest news. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ruled that starting on May 19th, 2004, unsolicited pornographic email (spam) must contain a warning in the subject line about its sexually explicit content. This regulation stipulates that a warning in the subject line must read SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT, as well as in the body of the email. This will allow people to filter out or delete emails that contain adult material, before they are forced to see it. The FTC’s regulation against spam goes even further to include the mandatory disclosure of the senders physical mailing address in all spam sent out, in a clear and conspicuous place in the email, as well as an option for the recipients to remove their addresses from future mailings. Lastly, the rule stipulates that the part of the email that the recipient sees when they first open it must contain absolutely no pornographic images, although it can contain links to the content.

It is interesting to see this new controversial ruling being debated amongst webmasters on the various boards. Most webmasters in this industry despise spam, but at the same time many use it as a shady marketing technique for their sites. Some feel that this bill is just another stage in the government’s evil ploy to get rid of online porn forever, while others feel that it is a necessary step to keep sexual content out of the inboxes of children. I, myself, am a firm believer that spam is one of the most intrusive, and annoying forms of solicitation out there, and anything, no matter how small, that can be done to rid us of it, will be welcomed. However, I am not that naïve that I will believe that the FTC’s rule will put an end to pornographic spam forever. The truth is that this regulation does not do much of anything.

In theory, this ruling sounds like just what we need to keep offensive pornographic spam out of our inboxes and those of our children. In theory, it is a solution that keeps adult spam away from those who do not want it, but still delivers it to those who find it appealing. In theory, it gives the receivers of unwanted spam a chance to remove themselves from offensive email lists. However, theory does not always work when applied to the real world and something tells me that this is true especially when it comes to this particular industry. There are a few things that should be considered when weighing how effective this regulation will be.

First of all, the regulation only applies to spam that is sent within the United States. A large proportion of pornographic spam that is circulating comes from places like Asia and Europe, and therefore does not fall under the new FTC ruling. Because so much spam comes from overseas, this ruling will have a hard time eliminating spam completely from email inboxes. I also feel that there most likely could be a lack of compliance from the spamming community. People were still spamming when it was considered “illegal”, so what makes people think that spammers will start conforming to these new regulations? The Internet is a difficult territory to police and the spammers know this, so I am not sure if they will feel all that affected by the FTC ruling. Once there are some big cases where spammers who break this new rule are brought to justice, then perhaps it would be taken more seriously. This rule really needs to be enforced strongly in order for the spammers to conform to it.

Aside from the fact that the spammers may ignore the rule, and the belief that a lot of spam comes from areas outside of the United States, there is yet another hindrance to the FTC’s rule, and that is making people aware of the ruling. If parents are not informed that this new regulation has been put into place, then there is no way for them to filter spam out of their children’s inboxes. Sure, the FTC’s rule will warn the children, and will make sure that they do not immediately see pornographic images when they open email, but kids these days are very Internet savvy, they know how to click their way around. Unless parents are putting specific filters on their emails blocking out anything with SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT in the subject line, then chances are that kids still have a good chance of being exposed to the content. 

Although I have argued that the FTC’s ruling will not exactly rid us of pornographic spam completely, I definitely feel that it is a step in the right direction. I think that any little bit that can be done to prevent spam is definitely a positive thing, not only for the helpless, unsuspecting recipients, but also for the stigma of the online adult industry in general. This type of sexually explicit spam damages the reputation of our industry, and it is about time we tried to get rid of the spammers who give us a bad name. In time, it is also possible that this ruling will inspire other countries to crack down on spam as well. But like all difficult tasks, the task of ridding us completely of spam will have to approached one step at a time, and for the time being, I feel that this is a fine first step.

Reader Comments: (1 posts)

Jaylon says:
Thanky Thanky for all this good infromation!
March 4th, 2013
at 6:37am EST
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