As mentioned earlier, the FTC recently announced a proposed settlement with Experian, taking action against them for allegedly sending commercial emails while claiming those emails were transactional in nature. Meaning that users effectively couldn’t opt-out from email messaging that was ultimately believed by the FTC to be commercial in nature.Writing for the Ad Law Access blog, Gonzalo Mon, advertising lawyer at Kelley Drye & Warren, explains more about what’s going on here and what marketers should be aware of — the top point being, be very careful about what you call transactional. The “primary purpose” measure is something that the FTC takes very seriously. A short but important read, in my opinion.
This is an important one to share, because it highlights what can happen if you try too hard to characterize your emails as transactional, when they’re probably not. Leave out the unsub link and see what happens — you can end up with a poor sending reputation, a pile of spam complaints — or even end up getting the evil eye from the US Federal Trade Commission.Don’t risk it!Read the news release from the FTC here.
Do you receive political spam? Political spam happens in the US, seemingly regardless of party, but it is not something universally engaged in, nor do I think that it is something broadly welcomed, even if some tolerate it.My own personal experience is varied. Back in my Miami Beach days, I dared to sign up for local government LISTSERVs to get warnings about hurricanes (when should we leave town?) and notifications of upcoming events in the area where I lived (where’s the live jazz?). A number of unscrupulous folks seem to have obtained my email address from those signups via FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests and then added me to lists for their various candidacies. I vigorously reported all of those unsolicited messages, knowing that most best practice-abiding email sending platforms do not intend to allow lists to be built in this way, and specific mail stopped. Sometimes an overzealous candidate
DELIVTERMS: The (almost) weekly series here on Spam Resource that defines deliverability terminology. Today, the term and topic is CAN-SPAM.CAN-SPAM, aka “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003” is the US federal anti-spam law. It doesn’t explicitly prohibit spam, but it applies various requirements to commercial email messages sent in the US, and it includes provisions that do help (in my opinion) to push email senders toward opt-in as a best practice.Here on Spam Resource you’ll find a whole section of articles relating to CAN-SPAM, including why you should adhere to the prior affirmative consent standard (because then you don’t have to label your email as an advertisement), what constitutes a transactional message under CAN-SPAM, and I’ll also help you break down four common CAN-SPAM myths. Here I’ll also include links to the full text of the law and the US Federal Trade Commission’s CAN-SPAM
There’s a term you don’t hear every day: electronic mail fraud. Apparently it’s just one of a litany of charges brought against four employees of a company called Adconion. Per Brian Krebs: “The government alleged that between December 2010 and September 2014, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to identify or pay to identify blocks of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that were registered to others but which were otherwise inactive.”What we have here are (alleged) bad guys (allegedly) engaging in fraud to obtain big chunks of IP addresses which were then (allegedly) used to send (alleged) spam. Yuck.Bad guys ruin everything for the rest of us. One of the big reasons ISPs and MBPs are suspicious about mail from IP addresses with no significant mail history is probably because of garbage like this. Using large swaths of IP address space (more than 65,000 IP addresses) and attempting to evade spam
“Is this message transactional, or is it commercial?” That’s a question I get asked quite regularly as a deliverability consultant. Note that I am not a lawyer, so I can’t give you legal advice. I can, however, provide my layman’s interpretation and encourage you to investigate for yourself, suggest to you where you need to look, and you can throw it all to your legal counsel, for a final ruling on the matter, if needed.Assuming you are based in the US and are sending (only) to US-based recipients, the US federal CAN-SPAM law applies. The text of the law itself (section 3) provides a fairly straightforward definition of what constitutes a transactional message, and the FTC later published even more helpful clarifying definitions — which is what you should read, memorize, and bookmark for future reference. It starts with this. It’s transactional, if the primary purpose of the email message is:to facilitate, complete,…
I saw somebody ask recently how best to label their email marketing messages as an advertisement. Their intent was to comply with CAN-SPAM, the US federal anti-spam law. Though I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, allow me to clarify it with my layman’s pants on, since CAN-SPAM misunderstandings and myths abound and this is an easy one to help folks understand.According to CAN-SPAM, you do NOT have to label your email as an advertisement, if you have “prior affirmative consent.” Meaning, if all your email is opt-in, you only send marketing messages to people who have explicitly signed up to receive such email from you, then you’re good. You don’t need to label the mail as advertising.But don’t take my word from it — here’s the relevant detail, straight from the fine folks at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):”If recipients have given their prior affirmative consent…