Can-Spam Act... The Basics

The Can-Spam act has been in effect for a little over a month now, so how does this effect you? Well, as long as you play by the rules, it may end up benefiting you more than you know.

This new bill supersedes all state laws, so if you are doing business in a state with tougher laws, things have just lightened up a bit. Also, by requiring all e-mail advertisers to include a functioning return address, a physical address for the organization, and a clearly stated opt-out, the law could help remove some of the stigma attached to e-mail marketing.

On the other side of the coin, make your message to customers good because it must include opt-out instructions. If the recipient is even slightly sensitive to advertising, doesn't like your company or is in a bad mood that day, the option to prohibit future mailings will be used.

When a recipient opts out, you lose your ability to send them e-mail without consent, forever. One slip and your e-mail relationship is over with that individual. The Can-Spam law has no open-ended continuing business relationship loophole like the Federal Trade Commission?s do-not-call regulations. You also are prohibited from transferring that e-mail address to others, so you have to keep track of that as well.

While consumers may now feel their concerns are being addressed, the Can-Spam act will certainly be going through a lot of scrutiny, by both consumers and marketers alike. What the final outcome will be, there's no telling. For now, abide by the new rules to avoid potentially costly penalities and to keep your subscribers happy.

The Can-Spam Act in Brief:

  • Senders of commercial e-mail must include an opt-out mechanism so that comsumers can request not to receive more e-mails from them.
  • No false or deceptive headers or subject lines are premitted. This way the comsumer can identify the source of the message.
  • Stronger enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission, state attorney's general and Internet Service Providers to monitor compliance.

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