Email Best Practices Audi

Best Practices in CAN-SPAM Compliance

If you think the FTC is too busy to bother with your brand’s minor, unintentional CAN-SPAM violations, you could be in for a surprise. Not only have other brands/networks been caught and convicted of Federal Trade Commission charges, many of them paid hefty fines—in dollar amounts and in brand integrity hits.

Here’s a look at the best practices in CAN-SPAM compliance—along with some good and bad actors in email marketing.

Email-Best-Practices-Audit.jpgTHE GOOD

Ninety percent of today’s top ecommerce brands are in compliance with U.S. and Canadian email unsubscribe requirements. Here’s a quick snapshot of the practices they follow:

Best Practices in CAN-SPAM Compliance/Email Marketing

  • Include a functional opt-out mechanism in every email.
  • Don’t get crafty with small fonts and subtle colors.
  • Route opt-out clicks to a confirmation page or a user “preference center.”
  • Do not send an opt-out confirmation email, and definitely do not solicit re-subscribes in such an email.
  • Remove unsubscribes from email lists within 10 business days or fewer. (But let’s be clear: best practices should be 24 to 48 hours.)
  • Use an automated email compliance software solution to manage/monitor opt-outs and share secure suppression lists with any mailers—including in-house teams and affiliates.



As of 2014, one in ten major online retailers was still violating the CAN-SPAM Act by either failing to honor an unsubscribe request within ten business days, or failing to include a functional unsubscribe link in their emails.

According to an audit conducted by the OTA, half of the noncompliant brands continued to send emails for up to two weeks. Adding insult to injury, nearly five percent of the brands sent unsubscribe confirmation emails (the last thing an opt-out wants to see after asking for emails to stop).

Bad practices in email marketing don’t just put advertisers at risk for legal penalties, either. Failure to track opt-outs and maintain up-to-date suppression lists can jeopardize a brand’s deliverability. Over time, unchecked email marketing can do long-term damage to the entire brand.



Even if your internal email team and compliance department are always steadfast about CAN-SPAM best practices, remember that you can be held responsible for messages that affiliates and other partners send on your behalf. Having efficient, comprehensive tools in place to monitor all your mailers is essential. The following brands, networks, and affiliates weren’t so vigilant… and it cost them a lot.


UnsubCentral makes it easy to manage email affiliates, update suppression lists and distribute data to partners securely, in just three clicks. UnsubCentral also provides comprehensive affiliate reporting tools, including suppression list downloads and number of unsubscribes generated at a per affiliate level.

Got specific questions about best practices in CAN-SPAM compliance? Contact us directly:

(615) 393-6716

[email protected]

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