The CAN-SPAM Act sets the standards for the sending of commercial email and requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce its rules. The intention of the act is to give recipients the right to decline spam emails. It is imperative to follow these principles because the penalties for non-compliance can be pricey, reaching a maximum of $16,000 for every single email in violation. Here are some useful guidelines to better understand the CAN-SPAM Act requirements!
DO: Include your valid postal address in every email you send out. This can be a physical street address, a post office box, or a private mailbox as long as they are all registered with the U.S. Postal Service or established under their regulations. It is necessary to provide true and honest information to your audience.
DON’T: Make it difficult to unsubscribe from emails. This means you cannot charge a fee, demand personal information other than email, or force them to take lengthy steps to unsubscribe. Sending a reply message or visiting a single page on an Internet website are the only steps allowed as a condition for opting out.
DO: Provide a clear and obvious way to opt out of every email sent out. Use of type size, color, and location may help provide clarity. If recipients wish to stop receiving emails, they should be able to make the request easily and effortlessly. You also need to honor that unsubscribe within 10 business days (but please just do it immediately).
DON’T: Sell or transfer any email address. After someone unsubscribes, you must respect the recipient and their personal information. You may transfer the email addresses to a company only if it is hired specifically to assist with CAN-SPAM compliance. While not recommended it is, however, legal to rent email lists.
DO: Use clear “From,” “To,” and “Reply-To,” language that correctly displays who you are. This applies to the domain name, email address, and the person or business sending the message.
DON’T: Use deceptive subject lines in your emails. You need to be clear and concise about the content within the email, so there should be no misrepresentation.
The goal of the CAN-SPAM Act is to allow recipients a choice in commercial messaging. By remaining transparent with the emails you send, you will abide by these principles. For more information, the FTC explains all the rules on their website. Hopefully now you have a better understanding of CAN-SPAM compliance and can apply these guidelines to your own emails!