The CAN-SPAM Act was first enacted in 2003 and updated in 2009. The law establishes the rules for commercial email and commercial messages. It gives recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them, and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate the law. Complying with the CAN-SPAM Act is quite easy.

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  3. Include a physical address. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
  4. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement. Some e-mailers choose to include a note in the footer or pre-header text that says “This is an advertisement”. However, this is not specifically required by CAN-SPAM. In most cases, the fact that you are making an offer and clearly promoting a product or service is sufficient enough to comply with the law.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt-out of getting email from you in the future. When you use Agile to send your email we will insert this opt-out language and link for you.
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

For more information, review a guide from the Federal Trade Commission.

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