Effects Of Anti-Spam Legislation

The new anti-spam law, known officially as The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, became effective at the first of the year, but it does not apply to survey research.�

Instead, the CAN SPAM Act covers commercial electronic mail messages, which it defines as "any electronic mail message, the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service." The law specifically exempts "transactional or relationship-based" emails between a business and its customers, which definitely covers any customer satisfaction type research.

Most marketing researchers, however, feel the CAN SPAM Act will affect data collection methods used by the marketing research industry, according to the 2004 Research Industry Trends Study recently published.

Among the 721 respondents from full-service suppliers, client-side marketing researchers and consultants, 70 percent said the legislation will affect data collection methods utilized by their organizations, 20 percent feel the main impact will be reduced cooperation rates and 13 percent have concerns about the representativeness of samples. Ten percent perceived the higher cost for completing surveys to be an issue.�

Regardless, with access to customer emails becoming more prevalent, and the continued growth of opt-in consumer/business panels for use in sampling, the Internet methodology is poised for the greatest growth among all survey methodologies, according to the study, which was sponsored by Pioneer Marketing Research, DialTek, LP, and BayaSoft.

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