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What you need to know about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

Thomas Senne
Senior Director of Global Deliverability

Disclaimer – This should not be interpreted as legal advice.  Please consult your own attorneys for specific legal guidance.

For almost three years now, Canada has been working to pass new Anti-Spam legislation.  The process has been slow at times, but it finally looks like there may be light at the end of the tunnel.  Most people expect for the law to take effect sometime in the summer of 2013.

What does this law mean for senders?  If you are following a permission marketing policy such as the one we have here at Responsys, not much is new.  If you are not securing permission before sending email, you may have something to worry about.  Here are some of the key provisions that it looks like will make it to the final version of the law.

Anyone who has spent any time with me in the last six months has heard me speak about the importance of permission.  That is underscored here with the consent provisions.

Express consent is required before sending any email.  That means that people have to explicitly say they want to receive email, by either checking a box or putting in an email address in a place that clearly states you will be receiving email.

There are some exceptions, but luckily they are pretty well defined as set forth below.

  • Personal or family relationship
  • A direct response to an inquiry
  • Delivers a good or service
  • Provides a quote or estimate
  • Provides warranty information
  • Employment relationship benefit information
  • A few other very specific instances

Be sure and check out the actual act for more details.

The winds of privacy are changing for the better.  I like to talk about the permission “chain of command” and how that should drive your future permission policy.  The chain of command runs from the initial ask for a customer to provide you an email address.  A clear sign-up process that educates your customers as to what they will be receiving is the best policy.

Starting customers off with a series of educational messages will build trust in you as a program and a sender.  By building trust early on, you will encounter fewer issues later in the relationship.

Make sure, that you not only actually have permission, but your customers also realize they gave you permission.

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