It appears Kraft's Gevalia coffee program won't be the last marketing organization sued for the transgressions of its arm's-length affiliate program. The Federal Trade Commission recently used CAN-SPAM to go after some real bad guys.
In this most recent case, the FTC sued seven purveyors of "adult entertainment" for violating the adult labeling requirements of CAN-SPAM. The twist here is that none of these firms sent the emails themselves. Apparently, the porn industry relies heavily on affiliate marketing as well, and now these firms are paying some hefty fines for the sins of their affiliate marketing vendors.
It's a tough trade-off. Some might argue that the affiliate marketers, not the companies contracting their services, should be held to blame. However, anything less than holding the ultimate marketer responsible makes it too easy to work around CAN-SPAM. In any event, it appears the porn industry just got a wake up call about CAN-SPAM. Maybe we can look forward to a small drop in porn solicitations over email as a result.