FTC and Email Marketing

I just spoke with someone who used to work at the FTC and knows a bit about email marketing and the FTC side of things.  I continue to be annoyed that it is legal to resell email addresses.

An example:  you can sign up to my list on the top right corner.  If I include in my (hard to find) privacy policy that I reserve the right to resell your name, you could legally start receiving viagra advertising in your email just for joining my list.

So I asked why that is allowed?  He suggested it was to enable commerce and is MY PROPERTY as the list owner of that data (ie your email addresses).  So I asked him to give me an example of where it is good for consumers for that to happen.  He said it was very good for commerce.  I asked again where its good for consumers.  He started giving me an example of being a camera site and how they might resell their list to someone making some new camera equipment and that it would be good for me to find out about the new product by being emailed a promotion.

I wasn’t impressed.

FTC:  Its time you stepped up and fixed the spam problem permanently.  Stop allowing people to resell email lists.  Email is NOT the same as postal mail lists.  The only reason we don’t get 5000 times more spam is because technology is doing a decent job at blocking it.  Thank god for google mail, they block around 2,000 spam messages daily from getting into my inbox.