What Is CAN SPAM Compliance?

The CAN SPAM Act of 2003

The name of this law suggest that one can freely send spam related email to people without consequence. Its a bad acronym to be sure. It stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003.

This law, signed in by President Bush in 2003 creates some specific guidelines as it relates to the sending of marketing related email. It is critical to any successful email marketing strategy to adhere to these guidelines as a minimum standard. Below is a summary.

Unsubscribe compliance

  • A visible and operable unsubscribe mechanism is present in all emails.
  • Consumer opt-out requests are honored within 10 business days.
  • Opt-out lists also known as Suppression lists are only used for compliance purposes.

Content compliance

  • Accurate from lines (including “friendly froms”)
  • Relevant subject lines (relative to offer in body content and not deceptive)
  • A legitimate physical address of the publisher and/or advertiser is present. PO Box addresses are acceptable in compliance with 16 C.F.R. 316.2(p) and if the email is sent by a third party, the legitimate physical address of the entity, whose products or services are promoted through the email should be visible.
  • A label is present if the content is adult.

Sending behavior compliance

  • A message cannot be sent through an open relay
  • A message cannot be sent without an unsubscribe option.
  • A message cannot be sent to a harvested email address
  • A message cannot contain a false header
  • A message should contain at least one sentence.
  • A message cannot be null.
  • Unsubscribe option should be below the message.