CAN-SPAM requires that you include your physical mailing address in each and every bulk mailing such as an email newsletter or other mail to a mailing list.
For some reason this requirement confuses people – maybe because it’s so straight-forward, and people are used to complex, convoluted, and contradictory (the Three Cs of legislative drafting!) language when it comes to the law.
But it really is exactly what it says it is – you must include a physical address (as compared to virtual, like web or email, address) in your mailings.
This is to help demonstrate that you are a real live company, with a real physical presence and connection to both the U.S. and the state in which you do business.
In addition, a secondary confusion arose when CAN-SPAM first was passed – people wanted to know if they could use a post office box for that required address, rather than their actual street addres.
At that time, we advised people that even though the law did not make it clear, that if they were doing everything else right under CAN-SPAM, then to go ahead and use the P.O. box, because we knew that the FTC had better things to do with their limited spam-fighting budget than to go after legitimate mailers for using a P.O. box if they were otherwise doing everything else right.
[I guess that’s one perk of having the CEO of your email deliverability service also be an Internet lawyer (one who also happened to work on the language of CAN-SPAM) – you sometimes can get free off-the-cuff legal advice!]
In any event, with the new CAN-SPAM rules that went into effect just this month, the FTC actually confirmed our advice – so yes, straight from the horse’s mouth, you can use a P.O. box, so long as it really is your P.O. box or other PMB (such as through Mailboxes Etc.).
But you do have to include that physical mailing address.