One of the things with which the Federal Trade Commission was charged under CAN-SPAM was determining whether and how to implement the requirement of including “ADV” in the subject line of unsolicited email.

Now this from the FTC:

In a report to Congress required by the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (“CAN-SPAM Act”), the Federal Trade Commission says it does not recommend requiring unsolicited commercial e-mail to include a label in the subject line as a means to reduce spam.

CAN-SPAM directed the FTC to prepare “a report that sets forth a plan for requiring commercial electronic mail to be identifiable from its subject line . . . or an explanation of any concerns the Commission has that cause the Commission to recommend against the plan.” A subject line labeling requirement would compel senders of unsolicited commercial e-mail (“UCE”) to include specific characters, such as “ADV:,” in the subject lines of their messages. The idea is that subject line labeling could make it easier for Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) to identify and screen out unwanted UCE, and for consumers to block or segregate UCE, or to tell at a glance whether individual messages that reach their in-boxes are commercial.

The report says that although subject line labeling may appear to offer a simple legislative fix for the problem of spam…

[FTC Recommends Not Requiring “ADV” In Subject Line of Unsolicitied Commercial Email]