When it comes to a subject as unpopular but prevalent as spam, there is no easy way to get around it. No one wants to think of themselves as a spammer, but the facts are that the virtual world has opened up opportunities to spammers that have never before been seen. Even in the realms of mobile phones and instant messaging advertising, spam has become a major issue among businesses and consumers throughout the world. By learning your boundaries and parameters around spam early on, you can avoid being seen as a spammer and retain integrity and trust within and among your customer base. Here is what you need to know about spam.
It Is Easier to Spam Than You Might Think
Spam can be defined as any sort of unwanted junk mail or unsolicited advertising, and it is primarily seen in unsolicited emails and online advertisements. Spam is a major problem for both businesses and individuals, leading to decreased productivity, technological issues and even fraud or identity theft.
While you may not be sending out morning, noon and midnight emails with overly alluring subject lines, strings of incomprehensive jargon and links to the product or service that you are trying to sell, your promotional strategies may be still crossing the fine line between spam and non-spam. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when trying to determine if you are getting too close to the definition of spam or not.
- According to the federal CAN-SPAM Act, email subject lines that are misleading or deceptive are banned, as these may lead to individuals opening messages that they did not intend to read.
- Recipients of email messages must have intentionally signed up for or opted into a particular list and cannot be added as a subscriber without their clear permission.
- In all commercial emails, there must be an obvious way to unsubscribe or opt out of the messages. If a recipient chooses to opt out, this decision must be upheld by the sender and they may not receive any further messages after 10 days.
- Commercial email has to identify itself as such and must include a physical postal address belonging to the sender within the message.
- Unwanted telephone solicitation, such as text message alerts and updates, may also count as spam, so make sure that you have a customer’s express permission before signing them up for text message communications from your business.
What Are the Consequences for Unwanted Spammers?
The legalities regarding spam are constantly changing, but here are some basics that are in place.
- Spam laws and regulations can vary state by state, but the CAN-SPAM Act is federally enforced and therefore must be observed no matter where you are.
- Violations of anti-spam laws may result in large fines or other serious consequences.
- Lawsuits because of spamming issues are growing increasingly common and are something that every business owner will certainly want to avoid.
The bottom line regarding spam is that internet advertisements and online solicitation should be held to the same standards as print media and mailed solicitation. Any false advertising, unwanted correspondence and unacknowledged attempts to unsubscribe from a list-serv can be dealt with via legal action, which is something that business owners will want to stay away from at all costs.
Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to take the appropriate precautions when doing business online, such as ensuring that you have a customer’s permission before signing them up for your email newsletter and refraining from making false claims about a product through an online advertisement. Pay careful attention to the subject lines of your emails, making their intended message clear and obvious. Otherwise, you may end up learning a lesson about spam the hard way via lawsuits, a poor reputation, customer complaints or simply a client database that is unresponsive and untrusting of your online communication practices.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.