What is CAN SPAM?

CAN SPAM is an Act that was passed by the Federal Trade Commission in 2003.  It covers all commercial messaging—electronic, bulk mail, and otherwise.  It is intended to limit promotional advertising to customers, including those who are current customers of any business.  Everyone who uses marketing automation to create referral campaigns needs to understand CAN SPAM to prevent their businesses from being subject to blacklisting by organizations such as the Spamhaus Project.  The Spamhaus Project is an organization that blacklists IP addresses and diligently keeps watch over the Internet to police and report companies that are guilty of sending spam communications.

Why should you care?

Companies who have products or services to sell and who use email as a main source of advertising have good reason to be concerned about the CAN SPAM Act and the Spamhaus Project.  However, there is a fine line between fearing the blacklist and limiting the functionality of referral marketing programs so severely that companies end up wasting time and money, and losing valuable referral capabilities.

If you are using marketing automation tools to help you set up your campaigns, be sure to review compliance rules so you know you are working within the CAN SPAM guidelines.  However, be careful not to overcomplicate the issue.  Instituting rules for a campaign that further limit the potential audience, like only allowing potential customers to receive referral emails one time-ever-during the lifetime of the program would be taking CAN SPAM a bit too far.

What is the risk?

Potential customers may have multiple friends who would refer them, and they may choose to accept one referral over another for various reasons:  Referral emails can get overlooked.  Potential customers may trust one referrer over another.  They may not be in the market for a particular product or service the first time they receive an email, but at another date and time they may be ready to buy.  These are all great reasons to keep the emails flowing, within reason.

There are many ways to prevent being flagged by CAN SPAM.  If you are talking with a referral program vendor, ask them what defaults they have within their email functionality to help avoid being blacklisted.  If you are using your own marketing automation tools to create a campaign, make a content and compliance checklist so you can rest assured you will never be an accidental spammer!

Questions? Email me at Kmcmurphy@amplifinity.com


Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

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