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If you are a US based sender of email, you’ll be aware of the CAN-SPAM Act which regulates commercial email sent from the US.

Last month the US Federal Trade Commission announced some additions to the Act, and we wanted to bring them to your attention. Of course, Campaign Monitor’s anti-spam policies have always been stricter than required by law, but it is still important to understand your legal obligations.

From the FTC press release, the four new provisions are:

an e-mail recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mail from a sender”

You’re covered here by using the instant unsubscribe link through Campaign Monitor, which is required in every campaign.

the definition of “sender” was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act’s opt-out requirements;

This one is a bit unclear, but unless you are sending a single campaign to multiple client lists (which we would not recommend) nothing changes. This is how a lawyer involved in the Act describes this change:

This requirement is an effort to hold affiliate programs responsible for how their affiliates promote them. If the affiliate is honest about who they are, and their “From address”, and if they put something in the email about themselves, then the user will be able to unsubscribe from the affiliate’s list. But if the affiliate is dishonest, and hides their true identity, then the affiliate program for the product featured in the email (which will be the product being sold under the affiliate program) becomes responsible.

(above was taken from a comment by Anne P. Mitchell on The Gripe Line). The next item is:

a “sender” of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under United States Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act’s requirement that a commercial e-mail display a “valid physical postal address”

We actually get that question occasionally: Is it OK to list a post office box and not a street address. Now it is clear that is acceptable.

a definition of the term “person” was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM’s obligations are not limited to natural persons

This seems to be about not allowing unsolicited email even when it is sent to a company or other entity, rather than a specific person. Again, not something allowed through Campaign Monitor in any case.

So while these changes won’t impact on most Campaign Monitor customers at all, it’s always useful to know what the current landscape is, and to be able to speak to your clients about their obligations. If you are not in the US, make sure you check for similar requirements in your own country.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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