Becareful Not to Spam

redfishredfish subscriber Posts: 10
edited November 2008 in Marketing
I just realized it might not be obvious to everyone else, but what exactly is spam, and what are your responsibilities as a business sending an email?
Here`s an extreme example: a client of mine tried to send 1400 emails to advertise his business (in round one).  He didn`t think of it as spam (although most people would have made the connection) because he thought it was a useful message that needed to get out there.  Luckily - and obviously - this action was flagged and canceled on our servers.
American does have anti-spam laws (although judging by our email boxes it seems pretty powerless).  But there are some key legal issues involved.
Some of the basics include:You must send the email from your email address (you cannot fake a different address or use a personal account -- you must use a business email account)You must identify the email as commercial in nature in the body and identify the email as commercial in nature in the subject line using standard markers. (You must also specially mark it if it contains adult-only content).You must provide a return address.  You cannot have a no-reply or send it from an email account that does not actually exist.You must provide the ability for someone to `opt-out` of the list.  And you must make it easy for them in every message sent.  You should have software to do this, or you`ll end up spending your days pruning your email lists.It cannot be misleading in any form.  You must be honest and specific.
If you want to be safe from prosecution you really should have an `opt-in` only list (meaning recipients choose to receive the mail).  If you think you are safe, you`d be wrong.  While SPAMmers from overseas are difficult to stop and to prosecute, those of us on native soil are easy targets.  Since 2004, the attorney general (and ISPs like AOL) have been prosecuting.  The first case resulted in two persons being sentenced to nine years in jail and a fine of $7500 (on only 3 counts).  The story can be read here.
If you`re looking for information on American anti-spam laws you can find summaries and the complete copy of the legislation at spamlaws.com.

Comments

  • redfishredfish subscriber Posts: 10
    Sorry it took so long.  I read through a summary of the laws because my client needed information.  I`ve just read through the law and it looks like you do not have to use a standard method to identify it as commercial email -- it must be clear however in the email and subject. 
    So something like "Hi Bill" wouldn`t work.  But something like "Bill, We`ve got a deal for you" probably would.  Something like "Bill, check out this sale on widgets" would be very safe.  And "Bill: Caution, this email is an unsolicited commercial email" would be totally safe!  But I wouldn`t recommend the last one (unless you added something like "where you could save hundreds on widgets").
    These rules ONLY apply to unsolicited email.  If you have permission to email them, then these rules do not apply.
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