by Ron Daly
You get an e-mail from your local pizza parlor offering you some coupons for a free pizza. You use that e-mail's coupons, you get your pizza, you're happy.
Then they send you another e-mail with coupons for half-off a sandwich.
And another about their football hotwings.
And another about their delivery sodas and desserts.
And you suddenly realize you don't care that much about pizza. So you click the unsubscribe link and...
Nothing happens. They keep sending you e-mail! Can they really do that?
No, they can't.
This is an exact reprint of the provision of the CAN-SPAM act which prevents this from happening.
It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. You may create a "menu" of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender.
Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor's email address. You cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have another entity send email on your behalf to that address. Finally, it's illegal for you to sell or transfer the email addresses of people who choose not to receive your email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless you transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law.
If anyone continues sending you e-mail that you opt-out of, they are doing something illegal. Likewise, if your company keeps sending e-mail to consumers that ask not to be bothered, YOU are doing something illegal.
Greg and Jimmy are brewing an article at our company blog about SPAM. Tune in in the next few days to see what they have to say.