What is spam?
Answer:   The Laws and Regulations about SPAM.

Spam seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

The end user, the ISP’s, the hosting companies, bandwidth providers, marketers,
and the state and federal governments all have their own definitions.

Here are the simple and practical definitions:

Spam- To the end user (you, as a regular person) anything you have in your inbox you don’t recall requesting directly. The definition depends on your mood, the content relative to your mood, how much and what you’ve been drinking, your immediate self-esteem or feeling of powerlessness or powerfulness, and how your day went/ is going. Or your level of testosterone or estrogen at the moment.

Spam- to your ISP (the Internet Service provider who connects you to the Internet) anything but personal email…maybe. To them, email is a nuisance and they would rather not have it. They filter your mail worse than the parents of an overprotective teenager. OK, that’s a little too harsh. Your ISP does have to battle with email delivery everyday from the porn stars, the people that steal their resources, etc…

Spam- to your hosting Companies- they would prefer you just not use email… it gets them in trouble.

Spam- to your bandwidth providers- they have seen and heard it all, if you even mention the word “email” or “opt-in” you’re a spammer.

Spam- to marketers- that’s what other people do.

Spam- to the Government-

Here are a few facts about the law that you need to take into consideration,
along with the specifics of what you’ll have to do to keep your marketing legal.

The CANSPAM Law does not make spam, the practice of sending unsolicited emails, illegal.

It does have some specific requirements for commercial emails which we’ll get to shortly.
The new law covers all email for which the primary purpose is the commercial advertisement
or promotion of a product or service.

The law excludes emails related to transactional relationships such as billing statements,
announcements of warranty information, follow-ups to customer requests, etc.
The new federal law supercedes most state and local email laws, except those that cover fraud and deception. This includes the controversial California law.

The key rules you must follow to send legal email marketing messages are:

• Include your full address within every email message.
• Subject lines must be descriptive in nature about the content of the email.
There are specific civil penalties about the use of deceptive subject lines. Subject lines such as “news for a friend” would be considered misleading.
• The From line should be from you or your business and not a sales pitch or marketing message
• Use a Reply address that will be active for at least thirty days after sending your email
• the bill covers all commercial email solicitations, both solicited and unsolicited.
• A conspicuously displayed unsubscribe link must be included within every email
• Any unsubscribe requests must be honored within ten days
• In the case of unsolicited email, the marketer must label the email as an advertisement. You may use the letters ADV in the subject line but this particular identification is not required.
• It is now required that a valid physical postal address of the sender be found within all emails. (in emails under CANSPAM)
• Related to sexually oriented email, a message within the subject line or at the top of the email must indicate the email’s sexual nature.
• The law also specifically bans the practice of harvesting emails through an automated means. This would mean it’s now illegal to obtain email addresses is to by crawling websites. This includes purchasing harvested email addresses from someone else.
The new federal antispam legislation also has several provisions related to the sending of emails with false or misleading headers, deceptive subject lines.

So, what does this mean to you?

If you’re not deceiving people or hiding, you’re OK.
If you have an unsubscribe feature, you’re OK.

Let’s go further… If you’re using our opt-ins, and our delivery system, and promoting your legitimate business…
you are within the guidelines.

Hope that helps clear up things.

Peter Mingils
(386) 445-3585