Spam laws. What?
The big turnaround for email marketing companies and spam came about with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003. Some useful and clear-cut do’s and don’t came out of this act. A few of these include:
- You must include a valid physical postal address on your newsletter.
- It must be clear how people may unsubscribe.
- Unsubscribe requests must be acted upon promptly by the sender (i.e. remove the subscriber from the list ASAP).
A few lawsuits have arisen after the introduction of the CAN-SPAM act which have cleared up some requirements and best-practice such as:
- Your sending email address must be valid and correct.
- It’s safer to include a link for people to unsubscribe as an unsubscribe email may be filtered and blocked (meaning you won’t receive the unsubscribe email).
- Email subject lines must not be deceptive.
I’m in Australia. I don’t need to care about the CAN-SPAM act
Wrong. Most major email newsletter services are based in the U.S.A. and they are obliged to ensure that emails sent through them comply with the act. In addition, Australia has its Spam act as do many countries. The sender is required to comply with the laws of the country (and even state) of the recipient.
Sending to a recipient in Canada. We’ll it’s time to ensure that you know about CASL.
How do Mailchimp, Aweber and Campaign Monitor monitor spam?
There are various means that the major email newsletter services use to determine if their customers are spamming. The simplest to monitor is that when people unsubscribe they are given the opportunity to advise why they are unsubscribing and one of the options is to mention that they didn’t ever subscribe or the email to them is spam. Aweber, Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor all monitor these unsubscribe responses and even display the results in your dashboard.
Another way services determine if you’re spamming is to monitor the email addresses you are sending to as if you’ve purchased lists of email addresses then some of the email addresses you’re sending to may have appeared on other lists marked as spam.
Data is also shared between the major email providers and email newsletter services in regards to senders that have been marked as spammers (all these services have an interest in stopping spam). If you send emails and a few recipient mark your email as spam then eventually, sooner rather than later, all emails from your email address will be automatically identified as spam.
The various email newsletter services also perform manual checks on newsletters to identify spammers.
There are many other means of identifying spammers and the success rate of identification is high as, due to the various anti-spam acts, the email services are obliged to stop spam.
What do Mailchimp, Aweber and Campaign Monitor do if I send spam?
Put simply, your sending will be disabled if you’re identified as a potential spammer. Some of the services will you you a warning message if the ratio of recipients marking your newsletter gets beyond a threshold but it isn’t good news to be considered a spammer.
Here are the spam rate thresholds that the services note:
- Mailchimp write that the the spam report number should be less than 5 per 50000 (0.01%).
- Campaign Monitor advise to ensure that spam rates should be below 1 in 5000 (0.02%)
- Aweber recommend keeping your spam rate at below 0.1%.
It just does not pay to buy lists of email addresses, misrepresent your newsletter service or use other unsolicited (and often illegal) means of using email newsletters for marketing purposes. There are very good reasons to use email marketing if recipients have agreed to receive your emails. Stick within legal and ethical standards and your email newsletter marketing will work well.