DELIVTERMS: CAN-SPAM


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 Compliance Guide for Businesses.

There have been a number of criminal and civil enforcement actions against those alleged to have violated CAN-SPAM over the years. It perhaps doesn't happen that often, but it's the kind of thing that you likely don't want to be on the wrong side of.

CAN-SPAM compliance is a basic necessity when it comes to sending email marketing messages ethically and successfully. Don't brag about complying with CAN-SPAM; compliance alone is not a guarantee of inbox delivery. ISPs happily block millions of CAN-SPAM compliant messages daily. Sending wanted, recognized mail to people who have explicitly requested that mail is key.

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