Frequently Asked Questions - Email Marketing

Do you have an example of anti spamming regulations?

When carrying out email marketing it is critical that one abides by some basic anti spamming laws, not only to avoid being labelled as a spammer, but for the benefit of those people you are emailing.  Ultimately, "less really is more".

CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. 7701, et seq. - html version) established the United States' first national standards for sending commercial e-mail. The acronym CAN-SPAM derives from the bill's full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003.

CAN-SPAM defines spam as "any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service (including content on an Internet website operated for a commercial purpose)." It exempts "transactional or relationship messages." The bill forbids e-mail marketers to send unsolicited commercial e-mail unless it contains all of:
- an opt-out mechanism;
- a valid subject line and header (routing) information;
- the legitimate physical address of the mailer; and
- a label if the content is adult.

If a user opts out, a sender has ten days to cease sending spam. The legislation also prohibits the sale or other transfer of an e-mail address after an opt-out request.

Use of automated means to register for multiple e-mail accounts from which to send spam compound other violations. It prohibits sending sexually-oriented spam without the label later determined by the FTC of SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT. This label replaced the similar state labelling requirements of ADV:ADLT or ADLT. Labelling regulations for general spam will be commented on by the FTC this summer.

CAN-SPAM preempts existing state anti-spam laws that do not deal with fraud. It makes it a misdemeanor to send spam with falsified header information. A host of other common spamming practices can make a CAN-SPAM violation an "aggravated offense," including harvesting, dictionary attacks, Internet protocol spoofing, hijacking computers through Trojan horses or worms, or using open mail relays for the purpose of sending spam.

Further info:

European Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications

Australian Spam Act 2003

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