Candid answers to CAN-SPAM questions

SpamThe classic 40s movie An Email to Three Wives , the R&B hit Take an Email, Maria , and C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Emails . The titles would have been different if they had been written recently. Email is an essential part of most companies’ marketing strategy. If you send commercial email – or have others send it for you – are you complying with the CAN-SPAM Act and the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Rule ? FTC attorney Christopher Brown answers some of the CAN-SPAM questions businesses are asking. I’ve heard that the CAN-SPAM Act requires senders to identify each commercial email message as an advertisement. Do I have to use specific wording? Do I have to include it in the subject line? CHRISTOPHER : The CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t require senders to identify the message as an advertisement in the subject line. Initiators of commercial email only have to identify the message as an ad in a way that is “clear and conspicuous.” The law gives you flexibility in how to do that effectively, but remember that deceptive subject lines are illegal. Before the federal CAN-SPAM Act was passed in 2003, some states required unsolicited commercial email to include a label like “ADV” in the subject line. But Congress pre-empted those laws with CAN-SPAM. Here’s another important point about subject lines. In the case of commercial email that contains sexually oriented material, the CAN-SPAM Act’s Adult Labeling Rule requires the phrase “SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT:” to appear in all caps as the first 19 characters in the subject line. I plan to send commercial email to a list of people who have given prior affirmative consent to get messages from my company. So I don’t have to worry about complying with the CAN-SPAM Act’s commercial email requirements, right? CHRISTOPHER: Wrong. If recipients have given […]