opinion

Test Your CAN-SPAM Knowledge…

Joe D

How much do you really know about CAN-SPAM?

I received an email from Emarketer.com on behalf of one of their sponsors telling me the term SPAM is no longer confined to messages containing Viagra and Nigerian bank scams, and asking me what does the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 outline as rules that every email marketer should know and comply with. It continued discussing the number of clicks allowed for an unsubscribe, addressed CAN-SPAM applications with transactional messages, and asked me to learn how the CAN-SPAM laws impact my email marketing. It then asked me to take a Bronto.com was a cool name and a great logo, so I went ahead and participated. It just shows you how the right approach with genuine information on a topical subject can grab your attention. On the basis of this marketing campaign and from the looks of the Bronto.com website, if I was seeking a great email management program I would be investigating all they had to offer. Below, find the quiz they had us take to lead into collecting our contact info and see if you can’t follow their example for something to stimulate leads for your own e-commerce programs.

1) CAN-SPAM is only applicable in the United States and overrides any state level spam laws.

The answer is “True”

CAN-SPAM was written into law in 2003 as a federal measure to ensure that all email adequately identifies its origin, allows a user to remove themselves from future mailings and provides the government and ISPs a right to action against anyone not following CAN-SPAM requirements.

2) Updates to CAN-SPAM are managed and produced by the FCC.

The answer is “False”

While the FCC contributes to CAN-SPAM via email sent to cell devices, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) owns and updates the core requirements of CAN-SPAM. The FTC is also the governing body in legal prosecutions.

3) Which of the following is not acceptable under CAN-SPAM?

The Answer is “Sending marketing email to anyone regardless of whether they’ve actually opted-out”

CAN-SPAM is very clear that once a recipient has opted out of receiving your email, you may not contact them again for further marketing opportunities. With an unsubscribe, this is akin to a Do-Not-Call list with telephone numbers.

4) What’s the maximum number of pages a user is allowed to land on or be redirected to after clicking on the unsubscribe link in an email?

The Answer is “One page”

To avoid senders having overly complicated or confusing opt out mechanisms to keep list attrition at a minimum, a sender is allowed to have the recipient take one action after landing on the unsubscribe page from an opt-out clickthrough. At that point, they can click on a confirm button, check a box, etc., but a sender cannot require them to sign into an account and perform other actions to be removed from the list or require a fee.

5) How quickly after a user unsubscribes must you remove them from your marketing lists?

The Answer is “Ten days”

You must remove a recipient from mailing lists or suppress sending to them within 10 days of receipt of their opt-out request as mandated by law.

6) How long must the unsubscribe link in an email remain active for a user to click on it?

The Answer is “One Month”

To ensure that recipients have enough time to actually click on an unsubscribe link in an email, you must support the unsubscribe link and the resulting landing page for at least 30 days.

7) Transactional email is defined as that which you think the recipient would most likely convert on.

The Answer is “False”

CAN-SPAM clearly defines transactional email as one which “facilitates an agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer in an existing business relationship.” This definition prohibits marketing messages from being labeled as transactional although it does allow for marketing content in a transactional email.

8) Transactional email is exempt from CAN-SPAM.

The Correct Answer is “True”

Since transactional email falls under strict definition by the FTC, it is exempt from the commercial email restrictions. But, it is advised that a sender get input from someone who’s an expert in email law to certify that the content does apply to the transactional definition.

9) Which of the following headers must accurately reflect the sender?

The Answer is “All of the Above”

All of these must accurately reflect the originator of the email message. Failure to do so is considered fraudulent and in direct conflict of the transparency spirit of the law.

10) You must send to at least the following amount for CAN-SPAM to be in force?

The Answer is “Any Volume”

Any amount of email sent, regardless even if it’s just to a single recipient, is covered by CAN-SPAM. There are no volume thresholds.

11) Violation of CAN-SPAM can result in monetary fines and possible jail time.

The Answer is “True”

Violation of CAN-SPAM can result in monetary fines and jail time depending on the number of offenses and intent of the sender. Over the years, many people have received either or both as they’ve been found guilty of breaking CAN-SPAM regulations. Also, a sender in violation can face civil damages from private ISPs attempting to recoup damages lost by sending mail to their recipients.

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