Home Technology Regulation $39.6k penalty for breach of Spam Act

$39.6k penalty for breach of Spam Act

Australian e-marketing company Upside.Digital has been hit with a $39,600 penalty for breaching the Spam Act.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) imposed the penalty after an investigation found that Upside.Digital sent, and caused to be sent, a significant number of marketing emails that did not clearly contain the name and contact details of its clients who authorised the sending of the messages.

Also, while Upside.Digital had consent to send emails to recipients on its own database, the ACMA said it was unable to demonstrate that consent had been obtained for other emails that it caused to be sent through a third party.

Upside.Digital operates as part of an affiliate marketing chain, sending advertising emails on behalf of clients and providing these emails to other third-party marketers to send to their own customer databases.

“Every single entity in an e-marketing chain needs to be aware that they are responsible for complying with the requirements of the Act,’ said the ACMA’s acting chairman, Richard Bean.

“Advertisers also need to be able to prove that consent exists for all messages they have authorised, irrespective of who sends them.”

Under the Spam Act, e-marketing messages are required to include clear and accurate details of the entity that authorised the message and, typically this is the business whose product or service is being advertised.

And the authoriser and sender of the message also bears the burden of proof to establish that consent was obtained.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).