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Saturday, November 22, 2014

CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

Every day, some of our clients ask us where their can buy an email addresses database. WE DON'T SELL EMAIL LISTS FOR E-MARKETING. It’s not necessary to call us. Sending unsolicited e-mails is illegal in several countries.

The best thing to do is build your own mailing list. A generic email address database can be very large, but on the other hand you must consider how many people in that list are really interested in your products or services. Probably only a few.

When you build your own mailing list, people decides to subscribe to your newsletter because they are interested in what you’re selling. So, it’s more fruitful to send few e-mails to interested people rather than sending a large amount of emails to generic lists. If you still want to buy e-mail addresses, make sure the seller is authorized by their customers in order to sell their data to third party services. Good luck!

Keep Your Solicitation Mailing Lists Small

Unsolicited email lists should be small for two reasons:

  1. No business can legitimately have thousands of unsolicited leads unless you purchase lists, illegally harvest email addresses, or obtain them in some other unethical (or illegal) manner and service providers know that.
  2. Large email batches always draw considerable attention from service providers on your end and on your recipient’s end. If you start sending out thousands of solicitations you are likely to overload your own servers, your ISP's or webhost's servers, and you are likely to trigger spam filters on recipient's email servers.  

What is the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003?

CAN-SPAM stands for "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act. " CAN-SPAM has a long and ominous sounding name that, unfortunately, does not match the lack of truly stiff penalties for failing to comply. Still, failure to follow the law can result in you being fined, sued, or blacklisted.

CAN-SPAM was enacted in 2004 to address the Internet's need for controls and regulations regarding commercial advertising. CAN-SPAM created penalties for businesses that do not comply with federal email regulations. It also established consumer rights in regard to e-mailers who "spam" to them.

 Who Enforces the CAN-SPAM Act?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces violations of the CAN-SPAM Act. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is also granted the authority to enforce criminal sanctions.

 Additionally, the FTC states that:

Other federal and state agencies can enforce the law against organizations under their jurisdiction, and companies that provide Internet access may sue violators, as well.

Email Marketing Laws: The CAN- SPAM Act of 2003

The following restrictions applies to all unsolicited emails from businesses, and in many cases, also applies to emails in response to voluntary requests for information or email subscriptions:

  • Truthful Identification of an bulk e-Mail Sender: You cannot mislead recipients in the “to” and “from” fields of an email. CAN-SPAM also prohibits tampering with routing information including changing or disguising email, domain, and ISP identification.
  • Subject Lines Must Reflect Email Content: Businesses may not mislead recipients into reading emails by creating false leading lines that do not directly relate to the content of the e-mail.
  • You Must Disclose When an Email is a Solicitation: You must be very clear, using language the average reader can understand (not small, hard-to-read disclaimers or footnotes) that the email being sent is a solicitation.
  • Your Business Address Must Given in the Email: If you send unsolicited business email, you must include the legal name of your company (what you are “Doing Business As”) and a physical mailing address. A return email address is not sufficient to comply with CAN-SPAM laws

E-mail Marketing: opt-out information

Any business that sends unsolicited email that a recipient did not voluntarily subscribe to, must have “opt out” instructions contained in the email. Even when a recipient has voluntarily subscribed to any form of email distribution, opt-out information must still be included in every email.

The law requires you to honour all opt-out requests within ten (10) business days. After ten days have passed since the recipient requested no further contact, it is illegal to email them again. You cannot use different email addresses from your company to continue mailing them, unless they give you specific permission to do so. After an opt-out has been requested, the only further communication you can legally send to the recipient is verification that they will, or have been, removed from your emailing list.  

 Opt-out legal requirements include:

  • Valid Return Address: The email must contain a valid return address, or other working Internet-based option (like a website or list serve function) to allow the recipient to request that they receive no further emails from you.
  • Opt-Out Tools Must Remain Working for 30 Days: Persons wishing to unsubscribe may not read their mail in a timely fashion, or reply right away. Therefore, the CAN-SPAM Act requires that any opt-out option or tool you offer must continue to be working for thirty (30) days from the last mailing when it was offered.
  • In other words, you cannot offer an opt-out web URL than then remove it a day later. If you use an automated list-serve, it must remain working for at least 30 days after it has been offered as an unsubscribe option.
  • Menu-Driven Opt-Out Lists: If you use a menu of opt-out options (i.e. if you offer multiple mailing lists or subscriptions) you can offer the user the option of selecting one or more mailings to unsubscribe from.
  • You cannot require recipients to check multiple items one at a time to completely unsubscribe. You must include the option of unsubscribing from all future mailings on the list of menu choices.

 

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CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

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