Checked your email this morning? There’s a bunch of spam in there, right? There ought to be a law.
On July 1, Canada’s new anti-spam law comes into effect. If you were unaware of this fact and were gearing up for an ongoing email marketing campaign, you may want to read the law first, as lots of things that it is possible for marketers to get away with now will become illegal on the 1st of July.
Aside from being annoying, marketing spam is also a prime vehicle for malware and identity theft.
In an inspired bit of marketing savvy, Montreal-based email marketing firm Cakemail has published a quick-and-dirty PDF that details the ins and outs of the new legislation. Nothing promotes the integrity of a company that specializes in email marketing more than saying, “Look, we’re not only one of the good guys, but also we’ll help you interpret this law.” Also, they’ve read the law so you don’t have to, and have served it up as an easy-to-scan infographic.
The key issue to be understood in the new law revolves around the idea of “consent”, and its two varieties: “express” and “implied” consent. Express consent is someone actively saying, “Yes, I want you to send me these emails.”
Implied consent needs an existing relationship in which the recipient hasn’t expressly agreed to receive a communication from you but has opened the door a crack, such as if they’ve purchased something or if they’ve downloaded a trial version of your software or given you a business card at a trade show, for example.
In order to upgrade that business card relationship from “implied” to “express” consent status, though, it will be the sender’s responsibility to send a confirmation email asking, “Is it all right if I start sending you marketing emails?” in order to stay legally clean.
You must also always provide an “unsubscribe” opt-out in every subsequent email sent.
Bottom line, if called upon by the authorities, “you need to be able to provide proof of opt-in for every address on your list.”
Wondering whether or not this applies to you? If you’re in Canada, then it most likely does. The law specifies that if an email originates in Canada or is read in Canada, then the anti-spam law applies.
Your recourse if you continue to receive unsolicited marketing emails? The law will be enforced by the CRTC. You can report spam, as of July 1st, to http://fightspam.gc.ca. Thanks again to Cakemail for the infographic below.