What is SPAM?
Spam is any email you send to someone who hasn’t given you their direct permission to contact them on the topic of the email. When you send an email to someone you don’t know, that’s an “unsolicited” email. Sending one unsolicited message to someone is obviously not spam. But when you send an unsolicited email to an entire list of people you don’t know, that’s SPAM.
What kind of email addresses is OK to send?
To send email to anyone, you need to have their permission. This could be done through:
- An email newsletter subscribes form on your website or partner website.
- An opt-in checkbox on a form. This checkbox must not be checked by default, the person completing the form must willingly select the checkbox to indicate they want to hear from you.
- If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that they would be contacted by email AND they ticked a box indicating they would like to be contacted.
- Customers who have purchased from you and has agreed for non-purchase related emails.
What kind of email address ARE NOT OK to send?
You can’t import or send to any email address which:
- You do not have explicit, provable permission to contact in relation to the topic of the email you’re sending.
- You bought, loaned, rented or in any way acquired from a third party, no matter what they claim about quality or permission. You need to obtain permission yourself.
- You haven’t contacted them via email in the last 2 years. Permission doesn’t age well and these people have either changed email address or won’t remember giving their permission in the first place.
- You scraped or copy and pasted from the web. Just because people publish their email address doesn’t mean they want to hear from you.
What content MUST I include in my email?
Every email you sending must include a single-click unsubscribe link that instantly removes the subscriber from your list.
Once they unsubscribe, you can never email them again.
Requirements for All EMAILS
- Single click unsubscribe link must be in all marketing emails.
- You must include your contact information inside every promotional email that you send, including a physical mailing address or PO Box where you can receive mail. (Not a website or email address.)
- You may not falsify your contact information or subject line.
- We require that your emails comply with the laws. If you break the rules, you could be liable for hundreds of dollars for each recipient that you sent non-compliant messages to.
- In addition to CAN-SPAM rules, you must comply with the anti-spam laws of the countries your recipients live in. So if you’re sending to UK residents and US residents, check the UK spam laws to make sure you’re also UK compliant.
Other International Requirements By Country
These are either links to anti-spam legislation in countries or the name of the country’s anti-spam law.
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) amends the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act. It is very similar to CAN-SPAM but has some minor differences and covers all electronic messages, not just email.
Spam Act 2003, Act No. 129 of 2003 as amended.
Article 13 of DIRECTIVE 2002/58/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications).
The EU body that addresses spam is The Contact Network of Spam Enforcement Authorities (CNSA).
The Directive is implemented by each member state independently so you will want to check with your particular country law for more details.
Commission de la protection de la vie privée, Le spam en Belgique Etat des lieux en juillet 2003, July 4, 2003
Section 06 of the Regulation of Electronic Communications and Postal Services Law of 2004 (Law 12 (I) / 2004 deals with unsolicited communications (spam)
Act No. 480/2004 Coll., on Certain Information Society Services
Falls under the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) [National Data Processing and Liberties Commission], Electronic Mailing and Data Protection (Oct. 14, 1999) (French) CNIL Guidelines on email marketing.
Art. 7 German Unfair Competition Law (Gesetz gegen Unlauteren Wettbewerb) (UWG)
Art. 202a, 263, 303a, 303b of the German Criminal Code Art. 6 of the German Law regarding Information Society Services Art. 28 Par. 4 of the German Data Protection Act
Italy’s anti-spam laws are very strict. You can even be imprisoned for sending spam. If you’re sending to Italian recipients, follow these guidelines as well.
Personal Data Protection Code (legislative decree no. 196/2003)
The Code transposed EC Directive 95/46 on the protection of personal data and EC Directive 2002/58 on privacy in electronic communications; it consolidated all Italian pre-existing laws and regulations in this sector.
DL 196/2003 Personal Data Protection Code • DL 675/1996 on privacy protection states, inter alia, that a company must have authorization from each user whose personal data (such as e-mail) they want to use. • DL 171/1998 (deriving from the European Community directive 97/66/CE) on telecommunications privacy protection: this put outlaws all automatic systems to call a user and says that all the expenses of an advertising must be paid by the company and not the user (faxes and e-mails are instead paid also by the user).
DL 185/1999 (deriving from the European Community directive 97/7/CE) on customer protection with respect to long-distance contracts: this obliges companies to seek the permission of the user for virtual or telephone sales.
Dutch law requires very explicit permission and heavily protects data and privacy.
We reserve the right to suspend your account immediately and start investigating your activity if your account has high percentage of spam complaints (more than 0.1%), bounces (more than 20%) or very small open rate (less than 5%) and if it turns out that you were sending emails without permission – we will terminate your account.
We can ask you to prove that you have permission from your recipients and we can close your account if you do not have such proof.