eMarketing Code FAQs


Why is an Email and SMS Code of Practice necessary?
The Federal Government’s new Spam Act establishes the broad framework for conduct appropriate for electronic and mobile commerce such as the need for consent, the requirement to include accurate sender information and provision of unsubscribe facilities but rightly does not go into the detail of email and SMS marketing practice including such issues as member-get-member schemes and viral marketing. Government and industry has agreed that such issues of detail would be better dealt with in a Code of Practice.

Can consumers be confident that the Code will be enforceable?
Yes. Unlike self-regulatory codes, it is intended that the Email and SMS Marketing Code of Practice will be presented for registration by the Federal Government’s telecommunications regulator - the Australian Communications Authority (ACA). Code registration allows the ACA to issue warnings and directions to comply with a registered code to any participant in the e-marketing industry whether or not they are signatories to the Code.

Why is this happening after, not before the legislation was introduced?
Spam is a worldwide problem and the Australian Government’s response has been a legislative solution which attracted support throughout the information economy including from organisations such as ADMA representing direct marketers the Internet Industry Association representing ISPs. The Spam legislation covers the relatively new channel of mobile marketing as well as email and it was not possible or practical to develop codes until the legislation was in place. In any event it is quite normal government practice to pass legislation first and then develop subordinate regulation and appropriate codes.

Will consumers have the opportunity to have input into the Code?
The Code Committee proposes to produce a draft code by the end of May and then advertise widely for public comment, which will be taken into consideration before the Code is finalised and submitted to the ACA for registration.

Isn’t this approach too heavy-handed and won’t it impose an unnecessary red tape burden on small businesses?
No. To the contrary, because this Code will apply to non-members of associations as well as members everyone will be treated equally. Members of industry associations subject to codes will not be disadvantaged. There are good reasons to have total coverage because membership of associations tends to be lower in fast-growing, technologically-innovative disciplines such as email and SMS marketing than in mature industries. This co-regulatory mechanism will also give consumers confidence in the complaint handling and redress procedures.