Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Can Spam Update

According to Ken Magill of Direct Magazine: The Federal Trade Commission yesterday issued four new rules under the Can Spam Act.

For the most part, they don’t have earth-shattering impact on permission-based marketers. And where they do affect marketers, it is mostly positive.

“Overall, the final rules are good news for marketers,” said Tom Bartell, vice president of Return Path’s Sender Score e-mail best-practices certification unit. “Can Spam has set a pretty low baseline in terms of best practices. This kind of rule and general guidance raises the bar and underscores some of what the market’s been doing on top of Can Spam anyway.”

For one, the FTC also said people cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps beyond sending a reply e-mail or visiting a single Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mails from a company.

The FTC also decided not to shorten the time marketers must honor opt-out requests from 10 days to three.

The FTC also modified the definition of “sender” when multiple parties are involved in an e-mail, so they can designate which company will be considered the sender and will have to comply with Can Spam’s requirements by putting its name in the “from” line and its postal address in the body copy.

The FTC also ruled that a post-office box can serve as a legitimate postal return address under the requirements of Can Spam.

Finally, the FTC decided not to give marketers “safe harbor” protecting them from Can Spam violations made by affiliates. The commission has long maintained that marketers are responsible for the actions of affiliates who send e-mail on their behalf.

1 comment:

Ernie Schell said...

Ken Magill of Direct magazine points out that many marketers use more than one page for opt-out (typically a "rescue" offer pop-up), and may ask authentication questions or require a password (which also displays an extra page) or a reason for opting-out -- all of which are now prohibited practices.

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