December 11, 2008

Tell-a-friend systems now legal in the Netherlands

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 8:49 am

An unholy alliance of the telecom and privacy authorities (OPTA and CBP respectively) has declared tell-a-friend systems legal, reports Arnoud Engelfriet (Dutch). The two agencies that were most likely to fine you for spamming your visitors’ friends made up a list of sensible sounding rules though:

  • The website is not allowed to offer incentives to visitors for using the tell-a-friend system,
  • The recipient should be fully aware which friend decided to spam him,
  • The iniator should know exactly what’s being sent on their behalf before the e-mail is sent, and
  • The site may not collect the e-mail addresses of either the initiator or the recipients.

If you don’t know what a tell-a-friend system is: these are forms on a third-party’s web site that will let you notify a friend of something interesting on that site. So what if you want to tell a friend about a 24 Oranges posting? Our preferred way is the one depicted in the photo to the left (by Mind on Fire, some rights reserved). You don’t have a friend handy and cannot just walk over? Well, we’re using the WordPress blogging system, which uses extremely user-friendly URLs. Just copy and paste the URL in an e-mail message and send it to a friend.

Organizations that would still be labeled spammers and privacy hounds under these new, laxer rules are such venerable institutions as the army and the police. I guess they’re just too busy harassing foreign looking people to read up on the law.

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