CAN SPAM – Does It Apply To Me?

By September 2, 2009 No Comments

I received 2 very good questions this week concerning CAN SPAM with regards to F2F links and sending email from outside the United States.

I think CAN SPAM continues to be a grey area for a lot of marketing folk and now more than ever they are being pressured to perform in today’s economy, especially since recent reports show more than half (48%) plan to increase email marketing spending this year.

Forwarding email is something a lot of us do every day and certainly don’t think anything of it, but as an email marketer CAN SPAM applies to forwarding commercial based email only if you are offering something (as an incentive) to the person doing the forwarding and states the following:

“…if the seller offers something of value in exchange for forwarding a commercial message, the seller must comply with the Act’s requirements.” *

With regard to people sending commercial-based email outside the United States, you need to look at your list very carefully. If you have 1 address @hotmail, @yahoo, @gmail, @aol, or any other American ISP – CAN SPAM applies. If the person checking it lives in another country does not matter, they are using an ISP in the United States and your email must abide by the rules of CAN SPAM. For a summary of what is required, please click here.

One last point I think is important to mention… the CAN SPAM Act is a list of minimum requirements, but quite frankly you should be doing this anyway (regardless of what country you live in). As a general rule, we recommend all clients adhere to the strictest rules of the road to help protect their deliverability, ensure global compliance and to stay out of trouble. If you have a genuine relationship with the people on your list and you are trying to market a product, why wouldn’t you?

Bye for now,


* We are not lawyers, please consult with your own legal council concerning all privacy laws that may or may not affect you and your organization.

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Author Kevin Huxham

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