Recently my daughter was completing a school project about regulation and the Internet. She quoted the CAN-SPAM act of 2003 as a reference, and that got me looking back and reflecting on the deliverability and email channel and how we got here.
Those of us relics – sorry, “experienced digital marketers”– who have been in the channel since the inception of CAN-SPAM can recall the days when there was no digital regulation and very little communication between the receivers and senders of mail.
Most of the people involved in making decisions about this promising new channel were technologists building a brave new world, who didn’t give enough thought to who was gong to live in that world and what they would do there.
The Internet (transport layer) was composed of companies laying large amounts of fiber to build the networks and doing so in a way that was independent of established rules of the telecom markets. Internaps, colocation facilities, fiber swaps, and voodoo accounting all led to the laying of thousands of miles of fiber with little or no oversight at that time. Eventually, the habits and practices of those crazy times caught up with many of the senior players who are now enjoying the hospitality and leisurely benefits of our federal prison systems.
Q: What does this have to do with the current state of affairs in the digital channel?
A: A lot. The marketer was never invited to participate in the conversation of what was going to ride all those miles of digital highways. If marketing had been asked for input then, we would be in a different place today in our digital marketing efforts.
So with that in mind, let’s review some of the highlights from the past 13 years: