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.
- 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.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.