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Ecommerce & Web Marketing Ezine. January 24, 2004

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Greetings all,

Well, just when you thought it was safe to start email marketing again after complying with the CAN-SPAM act which came into effect early this month; it seems there may be a number of hidden nasties lying in wait for the unsuspecting. 

Here's a very brief recap on the main components of the Act.

1) It is illegal to use false or misleading transmission information (false headers).

2) It is illegal to use deceptive subject headings

3) Each email must include a functioning opt out mechanism and a postal address

4) It is illegal to make another approach after a person has notified of unsubscription. 

Just on the last point, I *think* there's a grace period of 10 days for unsubscription processes to be completed.

Ok, it all seems pretty simple - or is it? A very interesting article I read on Marketing Sherpa a few days ago seems to indicate otherwise. First off, it's important to note that just because you exist outside the USA, it doesn't mean this doesn't affect you. From what I understand, the US Government will be working with other governments in order to prosecute "spammers". 

Oh, that's just wonderful - anyone who has been involved with email marketing for any length of time knows that the spam gangs favor working from countries where the government isn't particular fond of US policy or generally doesn't give a damn.

Secondly, when people opt out, they are not only opting out of the mailing service, but also from being approached about the product. So, let's say that you have a stack of affiliates and one of them is a *real* spammer sending out solo emails advertising your product solely. He spams Joe Smith. Joe understandably unsubscribes. You can never approach Joe with an ad regarding your brand again.  

You can imagine the complications this can cause - how the heck are you meant to know that affiliate e32343423 has spammed poor ole Joe? The only loophole in this is that Joe can still be approached with your ad if it is part of a communication that consists mainly of editorial, not just an ad.

Once again our governments have shown their ability to handle the Internet is nothing short of pathetic. A ridiculous set of laws is now becoming ludicrous.

And that's not all - for further information and a more detailed discussion of some of the traps of the CAN-SPAM act, review the article on Marketing Sherpa.

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