Complying with Anti-Spam Laws

As an email marketer, it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest anti-spam legislation to ensure that you remain on the right side of the law at all times. For best results, always follow email marketing best practices and check the national legislation in each country before engaging in bulk email marketing activities.

The most recent major legislation is CASL (Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation), which went into effect July 1, 2014. This new anti-spam law applies not only to Canadian organizations and companies but to anyone sending commercial email to Canadian subscribers. Failure to comply with CASL comes with stiff penalties.

As opposed to the American CAN-SPAM Act, which allows email marketing messages to be sent to anyone, without permission, until the recipient explicitly requests that they stop, CASL allows commercial email messages to be sent only to those who have given prior consent and explicitly opted in to receive the messages. Here are three simple tips to help you comply with CASL and other similar anti-spam laws.

1. Obtain Permission

Always ask for express consent before sending commercial email messages to your contacts. The method of acquiring permission should be explicit and require a positive action like checking a box, typing into a field or clicking a button. Pre-checked boxes should not be used because they assume consent and don't involve a positive action.

2. Provide Identification

Always clearly identify yourself in the "From" field and use a subject line that accurately describes the content of your message. Also include a valid physical postal address, or a prominent link to a web page containing this information, in every commercial email message that you send. If you are sending email on behalf of another company or organization, both organizations should be identified.

3. Include an Unsubscribe Mechanism

Make sure that every email that you send contains a prominent and functional mechanism for subscribers to easily opt out from receiving further messages from you. The mechanism can be a link to a web page or an automatically generated URL that allows subscribers to opt out simply by clicking it. Honor all opt-out requests promptly and without delay.

For more details and to see how CASL compares with existing legislation in the United States and Europe, visit:

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