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Q: Spam ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Spam
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: kaliman-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 06 Nov 2004 14:03 PST
Expires: 06 Dec 2004 14:03 PST
Question ID: 425441
can "refer-a-freind" mails be considered Spam?
I want to know if a reffer-a-friend system (like the one at can be considered spam.
Let's say that a person sends recommendatios to their fiends about
visiting my site.
-This recomendations are sent trough my server. This is, The user
writes hi's friend's email addresses, my server sends a standard email
to these email addresess.
Subject: Re: Spam
Answered By: jbf777-ga on 06 Nov 2004 16:37 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello, Kaliman -

Legally speaking, there is federally no official definition or
legislation on "refer-a-friend" programs being regarded as spam in the
United States.  In fact, the FTC is currently seeking comments on
proposed legislation involving, among other things, refer-a-friend
programs.  See the following link for more information:

FTC Seeks Comments on Spam Regulation

You may browse state, federal, and international law on spam here:

Spam Laws

I searched for the term "refer" in the state laws listed on that site,
and could find no reference to "refer-a-friend" type programs.  I
highly doubt this kind of thing would be addressed on the state level,
however (as can be seen by the FTC's existing involvement at the
federal level).

In the meantime, the topic can be discussed from an ethical standpoint:

In general, spam is considered "unsolicited, commercial or promotional
email" by most sources.  While a refer-a-friend program such as you
describe is indirectly promoting a service, the origination of the
message is of a personal nature.  I would liken this to a person
emailing his friend, from his personal email, with a link to sign-up
to a phone service.  The only difference here is that the "personal
email message" is being sent within a "commercial template" through a
"commercial service."

If the person who received the message didn't want to receive it,
then, in effect, the message is "spam" by some definitions; however,
that's between the recipient and the sender -- not you.

If you need any additional clarification, please don't hesitate to ask.  Thank you.

Google Answers

Search strategy:
refer-a-friend spam

Additional link:
Current federal and state laws on spam can be seen here:

Spam and the Law by Jessica Levine,4149,844394,00.asp 

Definitions of spam around the net:

Request for Answer Clarification by kaliman-ga on 06 Nov 2004 19:02 PST
Can "refer-a-friend" and "tell-a-friend" be considered to have the
same meaning if done in the same way described in the question?

Clarification of Answer by jbf777-ga on 06 Nov 2004 19:37 PST
Hello -

From what I can tell, yes: if done in the same way, they would be
considered synonymous.

kaliman-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Very clear answer

Subject: Re: Spam
From: jbf777-ga on 08 Nov 2004 11:17 PST
Thank you for the rating.  Please stop by again!


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