Website designer fined for email spam

ACMA hands $11,000 fine to Australian designer for use of bulk email lists with individuals' consent

Media regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has alleged Australian website designer, Bunology, sent emails to individuals without consent using addresses collated from the internet.

According to a statement issues by ACMA this week, Bunology downloaded an email list from an undisclosed source for marketing use.

The design company has been forced to pay $11,000 to ACMA for breach of the Spam Act 2003, following an investigation into the allegations and the company’s failure to justify consent for use of the addresses.

“Consent is key to the operation of the Spam Act,” ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, said. “If you intend to promote your business by email, it is your responsibility to ensure that consent of the recipients has been obtained before sending the message—no matter where the email address came from.”

Though generally frowned upon, the bulk general and targeted email list is a growing industry for marketers, with some companies offering lists of a million email address for $US39.95 and up to 98 million addresses for $799.95. Email address identified and targeted to a particular category of users or business are often more expensive, with one US company offering a list of a million targeted addresses for $497.

It is unclear whether purchase or rentals of these lists also provides consent, though Chapman warned evidence would be required to avoid fines from the regulator.