CAN-SPAM Act: Legal Requirements for Commercial E-mail recently published an article by Nellie Akalp titled, 4 Little Email Marketing No-Nos That Could Land You In Big Trouble.   The article highlights the primary requirements of The CAN-SPAM Act, and it cites the severe financial penalties that can result from from compliance failure.


The CAN-SPAM Act is a federal law that covers all commercial messages, as follows:

  • Establishes the rules for commercial e-mail,
  • Sets requirements for commercial messages,
  • Gives recipients the right to have commercial entities stop e-mailing them, &
  • Lays out the penalties for non-compliance.

Commercial Messages.  Defined as “any electronic mail message the primary pupose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service” (which includes e-mail that promotes content on commercial websites).

Penalties for Non-Compliance.  Each separate e-mail in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lists the main requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act, as follows:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
  3. Identify the message as an ad.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future e-mail from you.
  6. Honor op-out requests promptly.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.




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