Emails: Keep it Legal

HandcuffsObeying the laws of eMail campaigns is incredibly important if you want to stay in business.  Recently, lawmakers have cracked down on those that abuse the contact information they have gained from their constituents. Here are some terms to familiarize yourself with as you stay within the legal boundraries*

Opting-in: When collecting e-mail addresses, whether through a Web site or other means, it's important that you are approved to use the e-mail address in bulk e-mail campaigns. The approval process, called "Affirmative Consent," by the FCC, is referred to as "Opting-In."

Basically, you are required by law to ask permission before collecting and using an e-mail address bulk e-mail campaigns. The process usually requires a check box explaining that, by checking, the user is consenting to be added to your mailing list. A confirmation e-mail is then sent to the user. It requires that they click a confirmation link before the e-mail address is used in an active campaign. legal considerations: When sending mass e-mails to your list, there are various elements that must be included for the e-mail to remain legal.

Unsubscribe: A means to unsubscribe is absolutely necessary. It's possible, and best, to automate this process because once a subscriber requests removal from your list, you have 30 days to comply before they can take significant legal action against you. CAN-SPAM: These are some of the requirements to maintain compliance with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003, issued by the FCC. The CAN-SPAM act basically requires that all solicited e-mails:

  • Are sent to recipients who have given affirmative consent (Opted in) to be subscribed to your electronic mailing list.
  • Do not have misleading header information.
  • Do not have deceptive subject lines.
  • Give the subscriber a reasonable means to "opt-out."

Each violation of the above provisions is subject to fines of up to $11,000. Deceptive commercial e-mail is also subject to laws banning false or misleading advertising.

All of these potential issues can be easily avoided by keeping simple standards in place. Related

Resources :

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi? dbname=108_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ187.108.pdf http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/canspam.shtm http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/canspam.html http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:S.877: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN-SPAM_Act_of_2003


*By no means is this article to be considered as LEGAL advise. It's simply an introduction into the topic and based on information that was gathered through years of experience and work.


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Nicholas Clayton has been with us since Friday, 09 October 2009.

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