We are very familiar with Email spamming. If you are unaware about email spamming check out my previous article to get a detailed idea of how and why it is done. Email is a very useful medium for any business to reach directly to customers. This usefulness became constant trouble for an email user because of the plenty of spam messages that kept flooding the Inbox. Hence, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was signed into law on December 16, 2003, as a standard for the sending of commercial e-mail.

What is the CAN-SPAM Act?

CAN-SPAM Act is short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act which was implemented to set standards for commercial emailing, often called “spam.”  Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email–for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line–must comply with the law.

The Requirements of CAN-SPAM

  • Don’t use false or misleading header information – From, To, Reply-To, and routing information–including the originating domain name and email address must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines – The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  • Identify the message as an ad – You must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
  • Tell recipients where you’re located – Your message must include your valid physical postal address. 
  • Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future email from you – Your message must include a clear explanation of how the recipient can opt-out of getting emails from you in the future.
  • Honour opt-out requests promptly – You must honour a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list.
  • Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law clarifies that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subjected to penalties, so non-compliance can be costly. Hence marketers, beware before you spam. 


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