You’ve probably heard of CAN-SPAM, but do you know if you’re in compliance? If you’re sending any commercial email, whether in bulk or individually, you’re required to comply with CAN-SPAM.
What does CAN-SPAM require?
The four main requirements of CAN-SPAM, stated broadly, are:
- No false or misleading information: A commercial email can’t include any information that’s false or misleading, whether in the body of the email, the subject line, or anywhere else.
- An indication that the message is commercial: CAN-SPAM requires that a commercial email include a clear indication that the message is an advertisement or solicitation.
- Valid contact information for the sender: CAN-SPAM requires that a commercial email include a physical address where you can be reached.
- A CAN-SPAM compliant opt-out mechanism: Anyone who receives an email from your company must be able to easily opt-out of future emails. CAN-SPAM sets out very specific methods by which a user must be able to unsubscribe.
Importantly, CAN-SPAM compliance doesn’t end after you send an email. Any opt-out requests have to become effective within 10 days after being made, and you can’t ever send commercial emails to people who have opted out unless they explicitly opt back in. You also can’t sell, trade, or transfer email addresses of customers who have opted out unless you’re doing so for the sole purpose of ensuring your own compliance with CAN-SPAM.
What happens if I don’t comply with CAN-SPAM?
The costs of violating CAN-SPAM can be astronomical: the law provides for a fine of up to $16,000 for each email that violates the law, and more than one person or entity can be found liable for a violation. Certain violations could also result in prison time.
Other marketing laws and regulations
CAN-SPAM is just one of any number of marketing laws that you may need to be aware of, depending on the nature of your business and what kind of advertising you do. It’s important to do your homework before embarking on any marketing campaign, given the potentially serious penalties for violating marketing laws.
For more information on the requirements of CAN-SPAM, penalties for noncompliance, and helpful information on how to stay in line with the law, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s CAN-SPAM Compliance Guide for Business, available at .