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We throw the term “CAN-SPAM” around a lot, and you may even hear it from time to time when spam makes the news, or when looking at your own email marketing policies. But what exactly is CAN-SPAM and which parts of it are most applicable to you?

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was signed into law on December 16, 2003 by President George W. Bush. CAN-SPAM is an acronym for: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003. CAN-SPAM established the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail and requires the Federal Trade Commission to enforce its provisions.

Here are some points about CAN-SPAM that are applicable to you:

1. CAN-SPAM applies only to commercial email.

2. CAN-SPAM applies to email for which a primary purpose is to feature
your goods, services, or content even if you do not send the email
yourself; however

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3. CAN-SPAM can apply to email sent out by your affiliates on your
behalf; however

4. CAN-SPAM applies even if your product or service is being
advertised in email sent by third-party affiliates, not you.

5. CAN-SPAM requires that all information in your email headers and
body be true, accurate, and not misleading.

6. CAN-SPAM requires you to provide a fully-functioning means of
return Internet-based communication for the purpose of the recipient
opting-out of your mailings.

7. CAN-SPAM requires you to honor those opt-out requests, and to
immediately cease sharing the user’s address even with previously
agreed-to partners.

8. CAN-SPAM does not require that you use confirmed opt-in for your
mailings, however it is one of the best defenses against an accusation
of CAN-SPAM violations.

9. CAN-SPAM does not require ISPs to accept email which is CAN-SPAM
compliant. In fact, ISPs are specifically exempted from claims that
they must accept email if it complies with CAN-SPAM.

10. CAN-SPAM is the absolute *minimum* that you have to do when it
comes to responsible email sending – however, if the requirements of
CAN-SPAM are the only standards that you are meeting, then you risk
being tagged as a spammer by blacklists and ISPs (those same ISPs who
CAN-SPAM says can reject your email for any reason). This is because
these standards do not rise to the level of generally accepted
industry practices, which require at least true single opt-in, and
hold confirmed (double) opt-in as the true standard, and which require
diligent mailing list maintenance and hygiene.

As always, we are always here if you have any specific questions.

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