It may not seem like email spam is decreasing, but if you are a US business that sends any type of email marketing, you should be aware of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act).
Effective January 1, 2004, this law targets commercial email such as an advertisement for a product, service, or web content. The law explains what you can and can’t do so that your email isn’t considered “illegal.” If the FTC finds that you have violated the act, you can be charged a fine of up to $16,000 per violation.
How To Comply With CAN SPAM Requirements
It’s not difficult to comply with CAN SPAM requirements. Here are six key components you must adhere to.
- No misleading header information. Don’t try to fake your email’s “From,” “To” and routing information. Instead, make sure the email message clearly states who the sender is from.
- Use accurate subject lines. Don’t try to mislead your recipients about the contents of your email.
- Offer an opt-out. Provide a return email address or a link that allows recipients to opt out and no longer receive messages from you.
- Include your physical postal address in the email body.
- Label the message as an “advertisement.”
- Honor opt-out requests. The law gives you 10 business days to comply with the opt-out request.
CAN SPAM Only Covers Commercial Content
Emails might contain three types of content:
- Commercial content – Your message advertises or promotes a commercial product, service, or website.
- Transactional/relationship content – These messages involve when you have already agreed upon a transaction or when you are updating your customer about a transaction.
- Other – Content that doesn’t fall within the above two categories.
CAN SPAM only covers commercial content, so you don’t have to adhere to these guidelines if you are emailing a customer about a transaction (although they are good practices, regardless of the type of email you send.)
Learn more about the CAN SPAM Act on the FTC’s website.