Many business owners aren’t aware that their email interactions can fall under the requirements of The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Unbeknownst to many, it plays a role in any email marketing that you might do – so it pays to know the basics. We at MIND aren’t lawyers, but hopefully our breakdown of the act can help you stay on the right side of the law.
*For real though, we are not lawyers. Always consult an attorney for questions concerning the law.
What is The CAN-SPAM Act
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) is legislation that does the following: creates requirements for commercial email, outlines penalties for those who violate those rules, and gives certain rights to consumers receiving email. The act is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency tasked with the nation’s consumer protection. If a case warrants it, the act also allows the Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce criminal sanctions.
What Does CAN-SPAM Mean for Me?
For most small businesses, it’s unlikely that you will violate one of the major tenets of this act accidentally. Some of the provisions carrying less stiff penalties may include laws that you were unaware of. Here are some of the main points:
- Your header information must be accurate. This means that the domain name and email address reflected in your email’s “From”, “To”, and routing information areas must be true and not falsified.
- Subjects must be truthful. It is prohibited for a commercial email to contain a deceptive subject line.
- You must give email recipients an opt-out method. After receiving a request to opt-out, you have 10 business days to stop sending email to the recipient’s email address (although most email marketing providers handle all of this for you).
- Commercial email must identify as an advertisement or solicitation.
- Any emails must include your business’s valid physical postal address.
Keeping Your Business Safe
If you don’t meet the requirements listed above currently, now is the time to start! While it is unlikely that you will face immediate sanctions, a fine of up to $11,000 is a distinct possibility. Keep in mind, you can still be held responsible for companies doing email marketing on your behalf. Make sure they are complying as well.
Looking for a company to run your email marketing campaign? Look no further then MIND, and do it right the first time!