IMPORTANT UPDATE: Anti-SPAM Acts for Business Email Marketing
HTML Email and Landing Page Campaigns and the CAN-SPAM ACT [IMPORTANT UPDATE].
A common sense look at Canadian Anti-Spam and American CAN-SPAM act for business emails.
The creation of an HTML email campaign with landing page for a client offering a free offer went perfectly as planned until…
Upon entering contact data into the email service provider, the client was alerted by a message very clearly stating something to the effect of ONLY internally generated contacts could be imported, and that NO lists obtained from outside sources – legal or otherwise – were admissable and that anyone caught doing so would be penalized, banned from the mail service or reported under the CAN-SPAM act. You could almost hear the breaks squeal from across town.
Swirling through everyone’s minds were questions like… Where did we get each contact’s name and email? Do we have proof of opt-in? What are the CAN-SPAM rules? How can we legally send out our free sample offer email and attract new customers without infringing these laws? And most important of all, “Did we just blow our budget on creating a campaign we can’t use?” The answer of course, is no.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: CANADIAN ANTI-SPAM ACT REQUIRES PROOF OF OPT-IN or considerable existing relationship! Watch for a revised blog and links….
[IMPORTANT As of Jan 1, 2012, this is no longer the case. Canadian Anti-Spam legislation requires proof of Opt-In or significant existing relationship. As emails from other countries (including the US) can travel through Canada, even emailers from other countries are subject to prosecution. Thank you to Calgary law firm Bennett jones for this info.]
The client can still proceed with the campaign provided they follow CAN-SPAM rules and Canadian Anti spam rules:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- Identify the message as an ad.
- Tell recipients where you’re located.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
- OBTAIN OPT-IN or be ready to prove relationships.
Lesley Fair, an attorney in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, wrote A Common Sense Look At CAN-SPAM. It’s a very smart read. To view the official act, visit the CAN-SPAM-ACT web page. [Edit note: dated info, watch for a new post soon.]
Don’t forget to check out our blog article: Top 3 Common Email Marketing Mistakes.