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[epub] RE: [EmailSherpa] Emergency Memo from Anne Holland... Pls Fwd
  • To: Epub Discussion Group <epub@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [epub] RE: [EmailSherpa] Emergency Memo from Anne Holland... Pls Fwd
  • From: "Maria Marsala, America's Business Growth Specialist" <yahoo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 08:34:56 -0600

Thought you might be interested in seeing the article below in case you
don't get this email newsletter.

Maria Marsala
www.CoachMaria.com

---------------------------------------------------------
Dear EmailSherpa Reader,

I'm writing you today to admit I'm guilty of a major
misjudgment.  And, I'm concerned you may be as well.  It's
about CAN-SPAM.

When I first heard about the new Act, I assumed that it
wasn't going to affect legitimate emailers significantly.
If you are permission-based and don't mail content that
might be considered misleading or offensive, then you
should be safe, right?

I was mainly happy the Act had superceded the California
law that's been causing legitimate mailers so much concern;
and, also that finally the Feds were going after the guys
that give email a bad name.

My complacency lasted until I started interviewing
experts and reading white papers in preparation for today's
scheduled special report on the Act.  Turns out the Act has
*significant* repercussions for permission mailers -- and
most white papers I've been able to find are not spelling
this out remotely adequately.

Here's a quick summary of what I've learned, and where I
propose you turn from here.  (Please bear in mind I'm not a
lawyer...):

-> Creative changes:

You will have to add your postal mailing address to every
promotion you send out, including emails that are sent on
your behalf by third parties.  This is no big deal in the
overall scheme of things.

-> From line changes:

It appears that if a third party is sending a promotional
message on your behalf, the "From" line may have to be your
brand name instead of the list owner's.  This directly goes
against all advice we've ever published on this subject.

(We had said the owner of the permission should be the
"from" not the person behind the message itself.)

If this is correct, famous brand names' results may not be
impacted, but smaller brand names hoping for an implied
endorsement results pop may be in trouble.

Plus, no one seems to have addressed what happens if
multiple brands are co-sponsoring a promotional send.  How
can everyone's name appear in the "from"?

-> Suppression file nightmares:

It appears that if anyone receiving a promotional email,
that includes your brand name, asks to be removed from the
list, your brand has to add that individual to a
suppression file to stop them from getting *all* future
mailings.  This seems to hold true whether you own the list
that your promotion was sent to - or not.

This is profoundly different from the way permission is
handled by most companies currently.

Now it's considered the list owners' responsibility not to
mail that individual again -- starting January 1st, it may
be the marketer's responsibility to never mail the name
again even via third parties' lists.

So, that would mean anyone sending out your offer to their
list will have to get an official suppression file from you
and run a merge/purge against their list prior to sending
the message.  (Do you even have an official suppression
file now?  Is it brand-wide?)

I can see major implications for anyone who:
- allows sales reps to send out offers to their own lists
- markets via resellers
- runs an affiliate program
- uses CPA email advertising
- has multiple internal email databases
- has multiple lists that people can join

You'll certainly have to maintain a suppression file; plus
figure out a secure way to send it out-of-house without
risking names being stolen (see below for an idea on that);
plus make sure everyone internally and externally obeys the
rules, etc.

If you have multiple lists, you'll also need to give names
an easy "manage your subs" form on your site and in all
sends that they can use to pick and choose what they'd like
to get.  (That's a great customer-pleasing move anyway.)

The good news is the Act does allow 10 days to update your
suppression file and get the word out to other senders
(such as affiliates) when someone wants off the list.
Also, there's provision for legitimate, limited tech
problems.

-> Email newsletters:

While it seems very clear that sponsorships of editorial
third party emails will remain unaffected (you probably
don't need to worry about suppression files, "from" lines
and other changes if you put ads in other people's
newsletters), what's *not* clear is how marketing
newsletters you send to your house file are affected.

If you send out a newsletter to your house list with the
goal of marketing, or sending clicks to a site that
contains promotional material about your products or
services, the Act may treat your newsletter as a
"commercial message" even if it has editorial content
that's not directly promotional.

I'm still trying to figure out the implications for
newsletter publishers - so bear with me.

-> Subject lines:

Nobody seems to be sure how the Act may affect subject
lines of promotions.  It's simply not spelt out, although
it may involve adding an ADV:.  Or subject lines may not be
affected as long as something formally in the body of the
message spells things out.

Which is frankly horrible as far as I'm concerned because
you know that recipients will probably set their filters to
rule all that email out -- even though it may include mail
sent from organizations they asked for.

There's no formal provision in the Act to help recipients
distinguish between wanted and unwanted promotional email.
I can't really see how there could be actually, because
anything legislators can come up with would be mimicked by
the bad guys instantly.  But, hey I can dream of someday.

-> Fines:

There are different fines detailed - the one most mailers
will worry about is the $250 per individual address you
mess up on.  Since the Act is mostly aimed at the true bad
guys, permission mailers may not worry that the FCC will
bother to come after them.

Guess again.  The Act suggests a bounty of 20% *or more* of
fines collected go to the people who turn in offenders.
(The specifics of how this will be handled are due to be
revealed in September 2004.)

Can't you just see a cottage industry springing up of
consumers turning in rule-breakers to collect bounty?
Plus, the I-hate-all-email-no-matter-what people will be
amply rewarded for gunning for you.

-> State laws:

Although California's Act scheduled to be implemented on
Jan 1st is overruled by this Federal Act, that doesn't mean
that all state laws are overruled.

States can still charge you under their Cybercrimes and
other related laws.  This means the emerging trend of
lawsuits in New York, Virginia and other states, will
almost certainly continue.

This may not affect permission mailers ... but on the other
hand some of the folks charged in New York last week loudly
proclaimed they had permission.   So, if your mailings ride
the edge of being misleading, ultra-junky, or offensive,
you may still be in trouble even if you obey the Federal
Act.  (Again, I'm not a lawyer - you'll need to check with
your own legal consult on this.)

->  Revamping privacy policies:

Last but not least, you'll need to review your posted
privacy policies to make sure they work with the Act.  This
may mean jumping through a few internal hoops if your
company publishes policies in more places than just one Web
site (such as printed materials.)

-> More Act information:

#1. Get a copy of the Act itself -- PDF link:
http://sherpastore.com/store/downloads/canspamlaw.pdf

#2. Get your specific questions answered by five leading
experts at an emergency teleseminar I'm holding in January.
(Note: there is a reasonable charge for this to help us
cover costs -- includes audio CDs, transcript, and an
Official Recommendations Report)
http://sherpastore.com/store/page.cfm/2134

#3. Guidelines for secure email merge/purge:
http://www.interactivehq.org/press/pr.asp?id=199807244

#4. EmailSherpa's Tech Editor, Jill Keogh's take on the
Act (useful):
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2555


P.S. As you've probably noticed, I'm sending this missive
to you via text-only (even if you signed up for HTML) to
increase the chances it will get past corporate filters.

Anne Holland, Managing Editor
MarketingSherpa's EmailSherpa

Copyright 2003, MarketingSherpa Inc.  You may forward and
share the contents of this email as long as you use it in
its entirety without cutting.  Thank you.




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