Net Gets More Respect in DMA Shake-Up

A shake-up at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and a new committee appointment may be signs of the group’s placing a higher priority on the Internet.

The reorganization, driven by new president John Greco, includes reassignment of the Internet Alliance (IA). That unit, which has historically lobbied on spam issues on the state level, will now report to the DMA’s senior VP of government affairs, Jerry Cerasale. Separately, the company named Bigfoot Interactive CEO Al DiGuido to its Ethics Policy Committee.

Additionally, Senior VP of Marketing David Smith and Mike Faulkner, VP of segments and affiliates, were let go.

The consolidation of the IA under Cerasale, taken alongside DiGuido’s appointment, suggests what some have suspected: the DMA under new President John Greco is more intentional and proactive about its Internet strategy than it was under previous head Bob Wientzen.

The IA previously reported to Faulkner. It will now answer to Cerasale’s five-member team in D.C.

“This move will allow a fuller integration of the great work IA does at the state level with that of our highly respected team in Washington, D.C.,” said John Greco in a statement.

Additionally, now that email law has been consolidated under the Federal CAN-SPAM Act, an autonomous unit lobbying on the state level may no longer be as crucial as it was.

The appointment of Bigfoot CEO Al DiGuido to the Ethics Policy Committee would seem to reflect the DMA’s growing dedication to the Web, and in particular email. The committee’s purpose is to recommend and promote best practices and self-regulatory guidelines for the group’s over 5,000 members.

E-mail provider Bigfoot stayed loyal to the industry group during a fracas last year that led several members of its interactive subsidiary, the Association for Interactive Marketers (AIM), to resign in protest. The DMA was accused at that time of watering down a set of email marketing guidelines intended to address the growing problem of spam. Bigfoot now appears to be benefiting from its loyalty to AIM and the DMA.

In other changes, the industry organization promoted Patricia Kachura to senior VP of ethics and consumer affairs, and Stephen Michaele to CIO, a position with oversight of the DMA’s Web presence.

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