Why Marketers Need to Go Beyond CAN-SPAM’s Modest Requirements

Image: Do the makers of the food Spam hate it being used for emai? Take a look.Once you’ve read the federal CAN-SPAM legislation, you’ll see it does little to stop the sending of unsolicited messages. One might in fact call it the “Yes, you CAN spam” act.

Yet even if you can spam, there are good reasons not to. Recently, James B. Zagel of the U.S. District Court in Northern Illinois rulled in e360 v. Comcast that Internet service providers (ISPs) are not liable for mistakenly blocking even permission-based e-mail when it’s part of a good-faith effort to protect subscribers from spam.

This shifts the power from the sender demanding delivery to ISPs and consumers, who may have a far more expansive definition of spam than what would pass the CAN-SPAM act.  If a sender’s message looks like spam, or has generated spam complains from other subscribers, ISPs can block it with impunity as long as their efforts are in good faith.

Though unscrupulous marketers can spam, ISPs can filter their messages. And though the result may not be multi-million dollar fines, the punishment of inexplicably declining open rates as messages are diverted from subscriber inboxes will drive profit out of spammers’ operations.

Read related posts about CAN-SPAM and email marketing.

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