Understanding the CAN-SPAM Act is easy

Posted Thu, July 9, 2020 by Kurt Hoechstetter - Skout Data

Article is provided by Kurt Hoechstetter from Skout Data

As consultants for using purchased lists in B2B environments we work with professionals from a wide range of company sizes and are always surprised at how many folks don’t really understand the CAN-SPAM Act and what it means for their business.

The implications of not doing some simple research has undoubtedly had an enormous impact on businesses missing out on an incredible tool for their arsenal as long as they follow the simple steps outlined. Let's take a look at the simple facts and see what you've maybe been overlooking.

What does it stand for? The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003.

Who does it apply to? It applies to any business using email and what's surprising to many people is that it's not applicable only to bulk email. That's right. Even a sales rep sending a one-off email to a former customer about a new product is subject to the law.

What are the stipulations? Don't sweat it, complying with the Act is not difficult or complicated and here's the main requirements taken directly from the FTC's own website:

(1) Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “from, “to", “reply to", and routing information – including the original domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.

(2) Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.

(3) Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.

(4) Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the US Postal Service, or a private mailbox you've registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.

(5) Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt-out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt-out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.

(6) Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out request for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipients opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any steps other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

(7) Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

Aren't you glad you now know the facts about this Act and seeing that it isn't so spooky after all?

If your business is focused on the AEC industry let Skout help expand your database and extend your marketing budget so you can let clients and prospects know about what you provide that's beneficial to their business. And be sure to follow the CAN-SPAM Act requirements on all of your emails that are promotional.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, we are not lawyers so we encourage you to consult a lawyer with any questions you may have.

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