CAN-SPAM issues

Hi Campaign Monitor Community,

Recently my company had sponsored an online marketing webinar that was
hosted by one of the leading online marketing websites.

As a result of the webinar registration process, a list of email addresses was generated.

My question is, can I send an email to the list of emails or will it be considered SPAM?

Thanks,

Tal

Mathew Mathew, 7 years ago

Hi Tal,

The key will be whether those people were explicitly asked for their permission - if they were, then you have no problem, but just adding them without checking could cause you complaints.

Did they know they were going to be added?


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Supermesh, 7 years ago
Mathew :

Hi Tal,

The key will be whether those people were explicitly asked for their permission - if they were, then you have no problem, but just adding them without checking could cause you complaints.

Did they know they were going to be added?

They only had a few fields to fill in, no terms check box and no "agree to receive emails" check box, not from the host of the webinar and not from the sponsors.

worksdigital, 7 years ago

Sorry to go off topic a bit but in the UK is it not still ok to send to Business and not email addresses anyway?

davidaf davidaf, 7 years ago

worksdigital,

It may be OK by UK law, but it is still against our policies, which do require that everyone on the list have asked to be placed there, see our Anti-spam policy for more info on that.


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BThies BThies, 7 years ago

@worksdigital... and @CM as well,

Most spam laws don't recognize opt-in lists, and rather mandate that there be an opt-out method only.  In this, anyone and everyone is instantly considered "opt-in" the moment they obtain an email address regardless of whether they know the senders or not.  E-mail being a means of communication the same as mail, picking up the phone or walking up in person, is looked at by these spam laws as simply a method of getting information from one person to another.  It makes complete sense, as you don't need "opt-in" methods for receiving mail or taking a phone call.

Campaign Monitor, however, doesn't see it that way - they feel that if the person didn't ask for the e-mail, you shouldn't be sending it.  (Imagine how many businesses would be unable to grow their business if they were unable to call or mail a company that didn't ask them to... email is no different)

With that being said, I can understand one reason why an email service like CM (or any other) would not want some mass emails going out -- they can get blacklisted by major ISP's if enough people mark the emails as spam.  This is only an issue, however, when we're dealing with email services such as Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, etc., as most businesses simply use Outlook or Lotus Notes (in which there isn't a mark as spam button).

My proof?  Having worked with D&B on their Rapid Reach project, we were providing custom lists of companies along with a method of sending emails to their list in a B2B capacity.  (Largest global provider of business information coupled with email addresses and a deployment service, with small business and Fortune 500 users = win for all)  By eliminating non-business e-mail addresses from the deployments, we solved the problem of being blacklisted by the ISP's due to "spam" complaints.

In my opinion, CM's service should provide a simple button that filters all non-business email address out of lists, and allows it to be sent regardless of whether it was opt-in or not.  In the B2B world, that's how products and services get out there.  They can disagree all they want, but e-mail is the most cost effective method for many start-up companies to get their message out to other businesses who may have a need for their services.  With the cost of printing and postage these days, do we want to kill small businesses from growing by acting as an "e-mail privacy hippie"?  In this global economy, when budgets are slashed and jobs are on the line, the last thing any company should be doing is choking the growth of the market simply because they feel people shouldn't communicate with other people who didn't ask them to.

My end point to CM:  If communication required permission, then nobody would ever talk to each other, and nothing would ever get done.  By the way, I'd tell you that you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe, or that your tire is flat..... but I didn't have your permission.


Brian Thies
Professional Email Developer
Thies Publishing
Mathew Mathew, 7 years ago

Thanks for the response Brian,

There is a significant difference between a business contacting someone individually and talking to them and emailing a list of people. Our policies are about preventing abuse of a mass mailing system, they don't stop anyone from growing their business by working with individual people or companies.

Regarding complaints, we still deal with many, many complaints from 'business' addresses. The 'mark as spam' button is not the only way people complain. They can email their ISP, or their anti-spam service, and those people can cause as much or more problems for us and our other customers.

Permission marketing doesn't mean not growing your business, it means not assuming a relationship and permission where none exists, it is about asking for permission before launching into marketing.

Nobody is going to complain if someone lets them know about a flat tire - but nobody really wants every car in the parking lot with a flyer on the windscreen, and plenty of people will complain about that.


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BThies BThies, 7 years ago

Mathew,

There's actually NO difference in me sitting at my desk emailing one at a time off a list, and emailing the entire list all at once.  One method takes longer than the other.  If your argument overall is that mass contact is different than single contact... then I could sit here and send individual HTML emails, and by your argument, I shouldn't get as many complaints as sending it all at once.  Right?  Nope - would still generate the same amount of complaints, unsubscribers, relationships, etc.

Also, by your point, I wouldn't be able to contact them individually anyway since I "didn't have permission".

Asking permission before launching into marketing.....  you've never worked in sales and marketing I take it.  It doesn't work that way... you don't beg for permission to get your products and services out into the market in front of people - you launch a massive marketing effort to get the word out about the product in the most cost effective fashion.  Oh look!  E-Mail!

As for your complaints statement, In the B2B market, the complaints are far fewer, and most people in the business world don't have the time to complain about an email.  Those that do are wasting their time - there's an unsubscribe button if they don't want that person sending them anything anymore.  Having been involved in sending millions of emails, the complaints were minimal (I stress minimal) and didn't affect the service.  It helps to not be afraid of handling customer service issues, as every company has them, and they're a part of doing business (regardless of whether it's the sender or a receiver).

On to the abuse part.  There are many ways to monitor users and prevent abuse of a system.  Whether it be limited deployments at the beginning, or company verification.  (You don't HAVE to take on every business that wants to use your service..).  With Rapid Reach, the email campaigns we sent were quickly reviewed by an employee to ensure it was not your standard "Viagra for all" ad.  It just depends on how much time you want to invest in the process, and how closely you're willing to work with ISP's to ensure they're happy in the end.


BTW - How ironic - I got an ad from a restaurant opening up when I went to the grocery store today.  In fact, that orange neon ad was stuck in the wiper blade of nearly every car on the lot by the time I got out.  Should I complain?  I could... or I may check out the restaurant when it opens.


Brian Thies
Professional Email Developer
Thies Publishing
Mathew Mathew, 7 years ago

Brian,

I appreciate your point, but as a company we do not want to allow the kind of marketing we as individuals don't want to receive, and that is non-permission based email.

We don't like it, and the majority of our customers don't like it. Very few people would look forward to receiving unsolicited commercial information, and for those people who do, there is no shortage of people willing to send it to them!

As you say, there are many ways to prevent abuse, and we don't have to accept every person who wants to use our service. In fact, that is exactly what our permission-only policies are about. We do an enormous amount of reviewing and still have to turn people down all the time, even with our strict policies clearly published.

You seem to be saying that we should allow people to send without direct permission, but we don't see a lot of benefit to our customers, to the end recipients of the emails or to Campaign Monitor as a company in loosening our standards.

Requiring permission hasn't restricted our customers from having hugely successful email campaigns, or from building their businesses, but it definitely does help prevent spam complaints and blacklistings, so there isn't a big downside.


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