CAN-SPAM ChangesI took a little break from blogging, and am now back in the saddle again. However, rather than getting to hear me preach about deliverability every week, I am going to share my slot with my esteemed colleagues Jared Reitzin and Shaneli Ramratan. So enjoy the new schedule!

The FTC recently approved some slight modifications to the CAN-SPAM act. While these changes will not dramatically impact the way we send email, they are worth noting, as they do affect the way some mailers manage their unsubscribe process, among other things.

There are four changes that were made to the act:

    1. An e-mail recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mail from a sender.

This is the most significant modification that was made. It essentially affects any senders that require you to \”log in\” or provide any information other than your email address to unsubscribe. I personally have experienced this many times, where I have had to log into my account to change my email preferences (i.e. unsubscribe), and believe strongly that this is bad practice. As I have said in previous blogs, the last thing you want to do is upset your subscribers by making them go through extra hoops to opt out of your emails. Simply provide a link in your email that either instantly unsubscribes the subscriber, or that goes to a landing page where the subscriber can choose what options they want – again something they don\’t have to log into.

    2. The definition of \”sender\” was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act\’s opt-out requirements.

The example given in the FTC text was a commercial airline email also has advertisements from car rental companies and hotels. The final rule made was the when there are multiple companies advertising in one email, the parties may identify one among them as the \”sender\”, who will be responsible for honoring opt-out requests.

    3. A \”sender\” of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under United States Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act\’s requirement that a commercial e-mail display a \”valid physical postal address\”.

This seems fairly straight forward, and actually may make it easier to comply with the requirement to include a physical address.

    4. A definition of the term \”person\” was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM\’s obligations are not limited to natural persons.

The modification here essentially adds groups and organizations. Again from the FTC text, the definition would be \”an individual, group, unincorporated association, limited or general partnership, corporation, or other business entity.\”

Hopefully this has provided some visibility into the ever changing world of email compliance.

Until next time,

Drink Responsibly, Drive Responsibly, Email Responsibly.

Jaren Angerbauer
Director of Deliverability