Patsi Krakoff, Denise Wakeman

For more leading edge ezine tips go to To learn more about how to create and publish great ezines, go to Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D. is a retired psychologist with over 7 years experience marketing online. Denise Wakeman has been marketing online since 1996. Between them, they write on 10 blogs and publish two newsletters, including

Patsi Krakoff, Denise Wakeman has written 21 articles for SB Informer.
View all articles by Patsi Krakoff, Denise Wakeman...

Recipe for an Ezine: Ingredient #8: CAN-SPAM Compliance - What You Need to Know

Ezine Marketing and Publishing

Patsi Krakoff, Denise Wakeman

May 21, 2007

3.0/5.0 (2 votes total)

Finally, in our ongoing series of articles on each of the eight key ingredients for a successful ezine, we cover the laws governing using email for marketing.

Anyone doing business online and using email for marketing needs to know about the CAN-SPAM laws. Not being compliant can get you into trouble and interrupt delivery of your email messages and ezine, even if you are not really a spammer.

Smart online marketers use “permission” marketing: you invite potential customers to join your email list, and offer a newsletter, a special report, or a sequential series of messages to form an e-course. The recipient “opts-in” to the list by replying to an invitation and subscribing. When your database system requires a confirmation of the subscription that is called a “double opt-in” confirmation. By "opting in", your subscriber is telling you it's OK to send email. They've given you permission and your email messages are not considered spam.

But most people don’t really understand what constitutes spam. If you're in business for any length of time on the Internet, you may encounter false accusations of spam simply because people forget they opted in receive your message. To some people spam is simply any unwanted message.

This can cause problems for you with your email service provider. You should be able to prove that you haven’t been sending unsolicited email. Your proof lies with the list management system you use that tracks invitations and opt in responses.

Here’s what you need to know about the law is so you can rest assured that you aren’t breaking it.

CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them.

Simply put, here's a rundown of the law's main provisions:
• It bans false or misleading header information. Your email's "From," "To," and routing information must be accurate and identify the person who initiated the email.

• It prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message. Subject and content must match.
• It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or an automated way for your subscriber to opt out. You must honor the requests. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor's email address.

• It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender's valid physical postal address. Your message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving more commercial email from you. It also must include your valid physical postal address.

One of the most efficient systems with a minimum of complaints is the ecommerce system, KickStartCart. They automatically include CAN-SPAM compliant features when they send out email broadcasts. Furthermore, if you import a list of email addresses into the system each recipient will be required to confirm they want to be on your list. All potential recipients must respond to a confirmation email in order to be included in an email list. This is called "closed loop" or "double opt-in" and is further assurance against people using the system to spam or send unsolicited messages.

While the respectable business community strives to be compliant, the spammers find new ways of circumventing the laws and jamming up email inboxes with junk. Unfortunately, spam filters never do a reliable job of keeping the spam out and are more likely than not to keep legitimate email from being delivered.

The best assurance against spam complaints is to use a reliable system such asKickStartCart, and to send out valuable relevant content to your subscribers. The ratio of information to promotional messages should be in the neighborhood of 80-20 or 75-25.

As a serious businessperson using the Internet and email, it's important you comply with the laws so you can avoid getting in hot water with your service provider and keep your subscribers happy.


Add comment Add comment (Comments: 0)  



Related Resources

Other Resources