Warning! Don't Send Another Email Or Ezine Without
Complying With The New
Copyright 2003 Bob Silber and
BobSilberLetter.com All Rights Reserved
The CAN-SPAM Act may have
the biggest impact on Internet marketers in the U.S. since the
commercial Internet evolved. It affects and has consequences
for every Internet marketer, their ezines, newsletters, and emails.
Don't forget autoresponder messages and other advertisements
sent over the Internet by email. CAN-SPAM is the short title
and acronym for the "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and
Marketing Act of 2003," was passed by Congress, signed by the President
and takes effect January 1, 2004.
The Act will be enforced by various
U.S. government agencies including the Federal Trade Commission
with all their super powers and also allows for individual
The FTC has a good track record, as well as
committed, ongoing enforcement efforts in policing Internet Web
sites for marketing violations, including legitimate businesses.
It will be interesting to see whom they pick out as the first
casualties of not complying with the new Act.
This article will
focus on some of the immediate concerns of legitimate permission
marketers for products or services, under the Act, excluding
sexually orientated mailings. In other words, those conducting
legitimate business transactions initiated by the consumer or those
requesting emails to be sent.
Spammers, email harvesters, mailings
spoofing headers, deceptive, false or misleading mailings, and
other unethical, and now illegal practices, will not be addressed
here. In order to avoid penalties under the Act the following
provisions must be adhered to: Every email must now contain a "clear and conspicuous" means
for the recipient to opt out and stop further mailings.
physical postal address is also required to be included
in every email. There is also a requirement that the mailing be
identified by a "clear and conspicuous" notice that the message is an advertisement
or solicitation. However, the latter requirement is not triggered
where the recipient has given prior affirmative consent to receive
The burden falls upon the marketer to prove the prior
affirmative consent requirements running throughout the
Act. When the FTC comes knocking, or you enter the courtroom with
your lawyer, you need verifiable proof to serve as evidence. Single
optin will not save you from the civil and criminal penalties,
imposed under the Act, in circumstances such as where someone other
than the requestor enters an email request into your system.
marketers use two types of systems for obtaining optin
email addresses, the single optin and double optin. Single optin
is where an email address is not confirmed, as actually being the
subscriber requesting a mailing, prior to any mailings being sent.
Double optin is a system where prior to any mailings,
the email address is confirmed, by the requestor responding to
a confirmation request, prior to any mailings being sent. Marketers,
in order to protect themselves, are well advised to implement a
double optin confirmation procedure, using the various commercial
software systems such as is available at http://www.DoubleOptinSoftware.com
to capture all the possible evidence available, for every mailing
The Act itself speaks to mitigation of damages, where
a defendant has commercially reasonable practices and procedures
in place, that are designed to effectively, prevent violations.
Most all Internet marketers have heard the numerous horror stories
of subscribers to a newsletter signing up, and then forgetting
or denying their request, and crying spam.
Or even the cases
of someone, such as an unscrupulous business competitor, subscribing
other people, without their consent, to receive mailings, in
an effort to shut your business down. Under the severe penalties
of the Act, the process of single optin mailings, is now a dangerous
way to do business.
Allowing anyone to sign up and request
your mailings, through a form on your Web site, where anyone
can enter someone's email address, can now cause you serious problems.
The Act has a broad sweep and now triggers many other areas
of concern for legitimate and ethical Internet marketers.
affiliate programs and joint ventures can bring liability,
for the actions of other persons. In conclusion, it is the Internet
business owner's responsibility to follow the mandates of the
Act, to protect yourself from liability.
is publisher of the "Bob Silber Letter" at http://www.BobSilberLetter.com
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