The CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act of 2003 is an important legal issue for all US based senders of commercial email.

While certain aspects of the law still remain a little cloudy, there are some simple steps you can follow to ensure you’re on the right track.  To make things easy, we’ve compiled a quick checklist that you should follow to lessen the likelihood of violating any of the sometimes ambiguous CAN-SPAM laws.

Managing Subscribers

  • Use double opt-in subscriber lists

To ensure you have the express permission of each of your recipients, use a double opt-in process when capturing new subscribers from your web site. When someone subscribes to a list, they will be sent an email with a confirmation link. When clicked, the subscriber will be added to the list, ensuring they have given you affirmative consent to hear from you.

  • Process all unsubscribe requests within one week

We require the use of the single-click unsubscribe method, which is immediate and 100% automated.

Sending Campaigns

  • Use a legitimate From name and From email address

The From Name and From Email address you use must be a legitimate company or staff member name and the email address must be valid.

  • Use accurate and descriptive subject headings

You must not use subject lines that mislead your recipients about the subject matter of your campaign. Ensure that your subject line somehow relates to the content within your campaign.

  • Use a valid reply-to address that can function as an unsubscribe mechanism if required

Your campaign should either have a return-to address through which someone can unsubscribe or another “Internet-based mechanism, clearly and conspicuously displayed.  It’s best to use the single-click unsubscribe method.  You should also use a valid reply-to address for each campaign.

  • Always include your street address

The law requires senders of a campaign to include a ‘valid physical postal address’.   A P.O. Box may be used.

While following these steps can’t provide an absolute defense to a CAN-SPAM violation, it should certainly reduce the chances of a violation occurring in the first place.

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