List Firms Educate Clients on CAN-SPAM

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Many list firms managing e-mail files rang in the new year by notifying clients via meetings and e-mail blasts of the new list rental procedures required by the CAN-SPAM Act.

One such e-mail went to clients of the e-PostDirect division of Edith Roman Associates, Pearl River, NY. The "from" line said "ePostDirect," the subject line read, "New Procedures in Response to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003," and the e-mail contained an opt-out link as well as a postal address. All of these components also were spelled out in the text as requirements under the law, which include having the marketer's name in the from line and not using deceptive or false subject lines.

The e-mail also outlined the procedures for opt outs by stating "ePostDirect will accept suppression files from the advertiser and remove matches prior to file transmission," and "ePostDirect will continue its current practice to collect and maintain opt-outs on our lists."

"The e-mail went out to all the company's clients, though the firm also had separate one-on-one conversations with each client as well," said Chris Longo, director of e-mail network at e-PostDirect. "It's just good business practice. We wanted clients to know how we are doing business and how we are implementing procedural changes based on the new law."

Executives from other list companies said they opted for individual meetings instead of an e-mail blast.

"We started consulting with our clients as soon as we realized that it was more than likely that the federal bill was going to pass," said Jay Schwedelson, corporate vice president at Worldata, Boca Raton, FL. "We didn't do an e-mail blast because we don't think it's necessary, and there's no one e-mail or document that can summarize everything involved with this new law."

In an e-mail to clients, CC3 List, Ivyland, PA, said it changed its standard e-mail list rental agreement to reflect the opt-out rules requiring mailers to honor opt-out requests. The new agreement states in part, "The mailer assumes responsibility and liability for complaints from recipients indicating that they have opted out of previous e-mails from that mailer." CC3 also said it would process all suppression files provided by mailers.

Lake Group Media Inc., Rye, NY, also sent an e-mail, saying the company needed "to advise you of certain changes that we feel are necessary in order to be in full compliance with the new federal CAN-SPAM Law." Among the regulations, Lake Group listed the need for all e-mail messages to contain the mailer's physical postal address and not a post office box.

Despite some confusion on the physical-address provision of the law, many companies seem to be erring on the side of caution and including their postal address in all e-mail communications. Still, a few list promotion e-mails received by DM News in early January had the other elements but not the postal address.


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