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Can-Spam Best Practices

The CAN-SPAM Act establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations. In 2003, the CAN-SPAM Act was passed by Congress to regulate unsolicited emails. This followed several years after spam had begun to flood our inboxes. Because of the difficulties marketers faced in properly building their lists and abiding by anti-spam laws, many are now wondering how they can comply with these regulations and meet their marketing goals using email marketing. This blog post contains answers to the most frequently asked questions about the law and how it applies to email marketer.

Can-spam practices can get you in trouble when it comes to privacy regulations. There are three parties involved in the Can-spam Act: the sender, the intermediary and the recipient. All parties must comply with the act for a communication to be legal. The rules in this case are simple, but sometimes difficult to follow. To fully understand these can-spam practices and make sure you are in compliance with these regulations always ask yourself three questions: There are rules that govern the sending of commercial emails known as the Can-Spam Act of 2003. It is the first law that covers such practices. But what it means exactly to be compliant with all its requirements? How can you be sure your email marketing campaign is 100% Can-Spam compliant?

Good, bad news on spam

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which takes effect on January 1, 2004, requires that commercial email messages provide recipients with clear and conspicuous notice about their right to opt out of receiving future emails from the sender. The law also prohibits deceptive subject lines, misleading routing information and deceptive use of originating addresses (i.e., “spoofing”).

Here are some important things to consider when sending commercial email:

  • You must include opt-out instructions in every message you send. These instructions must be clear and easy for recipients to understand how to follow them. You also need a way for recipients who have opted out from receiving your messages in the future to indicate this preference at any time in the future.
  • It is illegal under the CAN-SPAM Act for you or anyone else sending an unsolicited commercial message through e-mail to use false or misleading header information or subject lines in an attempt to mislead a recipient into opening their mail or reading it more quickly than they ordinarily would have done so.* You may not use false headers when a person requests removal from your list.* Your email must contain accurate routing information so that it can reach its intended destination without being intercepted by spam filters due to inaccurate delivery path information.* For example: If Alice@examplecorp1 (Alice@examplecorp2) sends an email campaign with “From” addresses JohnDoe@examplecorp1 (JohnDoe@examplecorp2), then both domains must be valid domains owned by the company sending out these emails – if either domain does not exist then most likely Alice will lose her ability ro deliver these messages into inboxes across multiple platforms; furthermore she may take action against herself because she could face legal consequences if someone were ableto sue her over an illegal act/misuse of their name/identity – potentially costing thousands

Who enforces the can-spam act?

The Can-Spam Act is enforced by a variety of government agencies. These include:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This is the federal agency that oversees compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act. It’s their job to investigate and prosecute violations of the law, including civil actions against spammers and other companies who violate the CAN-SPAM Act. They can also impose fines or order corrective action in cases where they’ve discovered an illegal practice, such as sending false or misleading message headers or subject lines (or failing to include them), failing to comply with opt-out requests, sending commercial emails without consent from recipients, etc.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This agency enforces rules around email transmission through traditional phone lines like DSL and cable connections—rules that were separated from those regulating electronic communications under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by Title II Order in 2003—and requires ISPs themselves not send unsolicited commercial messages without consent from recipients first; if they do so anyway then they must respond quickly when asked not to do so again via email address removal tools embedded within each message’s header information section provided by both Gmail  and Outlook 365 .

10 steps to successful unsubscribing

The first step to successful unsubscribing is to make it easy for people to opt out. You can accomplish this by not relying on pre-checked boxes or any other method of defaulting users into your email list. You should also avoid sending multiple emails before asking for confirmation.

If you’re not sure how to get started, here are some tips:

  • Make sure the unsubscribe process is clearly visible from anywhere in your email campaign—you don’t want people having to scroll through a lengthy message looking for how they can leave.
  • Include an “unsubscribe” link in every single email you send out. This should be located at the bottom of every message so that recipients can find it easily no matter what device they’re viewing on (mobile phones are hard enough as it is).

How marketers can comply with the can-spam act

  • Keep your message short and to the point.
  • Use clear, simple language that’s easy to understand.
  • Make sure people understand what they will get by clicking on your links or opening an email from you. For example, don’t promise a bonus if they sign up for something but then reveal that they must spend $100 first, which is not what they thought they were getting into.
  • Provide a working unsubscribe link in every email and make sure it works! You need to be able to take people off your list without them having to hunt around for it or fight through layers of menus or links just so they can tell you to leave them alone! Make sure that all your emails have an unsubscribe link at the very bottom – even if this means putting one there just for junk mail purposes only (which would also increase opt-out rates).

Is your email compliant?

Here are a few tips to ensure your emails remain compliant with Can-Spam:

  • Check your email for compliance. First, make sure that any physical address you use in an email is valid and hasn’t changed since you last sent an email. You also need to make sure that every single recipient has opted-in to receive emails from you, or else the message could be considered spam and subject to penalties under federal law.
  • Don’t send too many emails in a single day; this can be seen as spammy behavior by ISPs and users alike. In fact, it’s better not to send more than one email per week at most if possible! If this seems like too long of an interval between messages (and it should), consider sending out newsletters instead of individual emails so that there are fewer opportunities for recipients’ inboxes to fill up with messages from different businesses throughout the day or week—and therefore less risk involved if any one particular message gets flagged by mistake as spam due its timing being somewhat off target compared with other types of communications sent out on social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger which tend not  to be confined by these kinds of restrictions

If you’re a marketer, be sure that you’re following all of these requirements.

You might think that it’s not a big deal if you’re not following the CAN-SPAM Act, but that’s not true. If you don’t follow the rules, you could be fined for breaking the law. You could also be sued by your ISP or even the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). It’s better to be safe than sorry!


If you want to send an email, make sure it’s relevant and useful. Include a preheader with a link to your privacy policy and other pertinent info, as well as a physical mailing address in the footer. That way, when someone looks at your email for three seconds and decides they don’t like it, they can easily opt out of future communications from you. Some examples of bad emails are senders using “opt-out” methods instead of “opt-in”, or sending an email without consent, or requiring that a subscriber opt in multiple times to unsubscribe from a list. Another example is to promote your organization’s affiliate link for your donation program on your splash page by default instead of giving the donor a separate choice to make a contribution. Ensure that all of your visitors have the option to unsubscribe from any and all communication if they so choose. There may be cases when spam messages are sent from organizations that use bulk mail services; this discussion will not cover those situations.

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