E-Marketers Not Fully CAN-SPAM Compliant

  |  April 20, 2004   |  Comments

Fully one-third of e-marketing messages don't meet the federal law's requirements, making marketers susceptible to legal action.

CAN-SPAM, designed to regulate the distribution of unwanted messages, is causing trouble for well-intentioned marketers. According to a new study from Jupiter Research (a unit of this site's corporate parent), "Complying with CAN-SPAM: Optimizing E-mail Practices to Mitigate Risks," roughly one third of email marketing offers are not compliant with the Federal act.

This finding comes as a result of tracking more than fifty leading email marketers from notable companies in a variety of industries, including retail, travel, media and financial services, allowing Jupiter Research to measure CAN-SPAM compliance.

While the majority of e-marketers that Jupiter surveyed provided working opt-out mechanisms, the research revealed that nearly one-quarter continued to send email marketing messages after opt-outs were submitted. Furthermore, 16 percent sent messages after the legally prescribed 10-business-day period.

The CAN-SPAM law requires email marketers to include legitimate return addresses and opt-out information in all the unsolicited messages that they send, while also outlawing fraudulent spam. Those who don't comply run the risk of penalties, and in extreme cases, prison terms. Jupiter stresses that well-intentioned email marketers should maintain full compliance to minimize legislative risk.

While e-marketers grapple with the legalities under CAN-SPAM, email users have seen little to no improvement in the volume of unwanted messages since January 1, 2004, when the law went into effect. Pew Internet & American Life Project found that there have been more unwanted messages in recent months, and email security provider, Postini, found no detectable decrease through March 2004.

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