People usually don't think "spammer" when they hear the word Kodak. But the photography giant recently earned the dubious honor of being the first name-brand, legitimate player to be charged by the Federal Trade Commission for violating the CAN-SPAM Act. (You can read the details in this FTC news release.)
What did Kodak do wrong? For several months in 2004, Kodak Imaging Network sent email marketing messages that were missing an opt-out, a notice of the right to opt-out and a valid physical postal address. The company said the violation was due to a computer error, and that the emails were sent to recipients who had given permission. But the FTC was unmoved.
To settle the case, the Kodak subsidiary agreed to pay civil penalties amounting to the campaign's gross proceeds and to submit to monitoring to ensure compliance with the FTC's order prohibiting future violations.
In pursuing a strict interpretation of the law despite Kodak's otherwise good intentions, the FTC appears to be sending a message: CAN-SPAM isn't just for the bad guys. Mainstream businesses are also subject to enforcement -- even when violations are unintentional or seem relatively minor.