New CAN-SPAM Rule Provisions

The FTC has approved four new rule provisions to the CAN-SPAM act, which created standards for sending commercial email in 2003.  From the FTC press release, the four issues addressed are:

  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;
  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;
  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”; and
  4. a definition of the term “person” was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM’s obligations are not limited to natural persons.

The full text (PDF, 312KB) provides a more detailed explanation of each of the new rules and some additional information including clarification on how ‘Forward To a Friend’ emails should be classified. 

For most marketers, these new provisions won’t have a practical impact on their email programs. 

The one exception might be the first item, which addresses the opt-out process.  An important best practice has been to make the unsubscribe process simple and straightforward, so I don’t except that a lot of marketers will need to change anything.  However, given the continuing importance of the CAN-SPAM act, everyone should review the new provisions to determine what, if any, effect it has on your email marketing programs.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008 at 11:12 am and is filed under Email Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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