Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The end of email marketing in China?

It had to happen. And as it turns out, China's the first. In a crackdown on spam, Beijing's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) has passed a regulation on e-mail and SMS text services that outlaws, among other things, unsolicited mails.

The new regulation, reports the People's Daily Online, also bans all e-mail 'spreading junk information, rumours, erotic content, fraud or viruses.' Providing commercial email services will under the new rules be subject to a licence. Violators will see their licence revoked, and can face warnings or fines.

China is one of the world's largest sources of spam. Although the majority of spam is aimed at the US market, many spam servers are located in China. According to MII, that quotes only domestic figures, last year 50 billion emails were sent and received in China, of 30 billion were spam.

Although it seems unfair that legitimate unsolicited commercial email falls victim to the new prohibition along with all the illegitimate stuff, this is illustrative of a danger that was hanging over the market for a long time. Governments do not always make a distinction, and legitimate marketers are in jeopardy of being swept off their feet along with the spammers and scamsters.

It's also highly doubtful if the new rules, which take effect March 30th, will have any effect on international spam originating in China.

No comments: