CAN-SPAM updates take effect

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E-mail marketers are now responsible for making opting out a one-step process, as new updates to the federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 take effect today.

In a move to clarify the original 2003 Act's requirements, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has enacted four new provisions: two revised definitions for sender and “person,” broadening recipients to include a variety of company entities; the allowance that PO boxes can satisfy the postal address requirement; more specific guidelines surrounding opt-out procedures; and a rule that encourages affiliates to take responsibility for clean e-mail lists and clear communication among marketing partners.

The industry has responded positively to these new provisions, as these updates help clarify some of the rules that could be interpreted in various ways.

The provisions that will affect e-mail marketers' daily practices the most surround the opt-out procedure. Consumers must be able to opt out of receiving e-mail marketing communications in one step and a consumer must only have to enter an e-mail address to do so.

“The biggest thing you do is make sure your opt-out pages are in compliance,” said Quinn Jalli, chief privacy officer at Datran Media.

The other rule that e-mail marketers need to pay close attention to is the role affiliates play in e-mail marketing. E-mail marketers that send e-mails from two or more brands have to decide on one of the brands to be the lead marketer. This marketer has to have their name in the “from” line, include content from their brand in the e-mail and must manage the unsubscribes with a link to unsubscribe in the e-mail. For example, if a computer company is selling a computer but also has an offer for another brand's printer in its e-mail, the computer company has to have its name in the “from” line and provide the option to opt out.

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