Global Email Compliance

April 20, 2012 Chris Leonard

Email communications opt-in laws have wide variations from one country to another, so it is important your marketing team is up-to-date and responsive to current regulations.  Companies that are able to compete on privacy protections and effective marketing automation processes, will be more successful in a market where buyer’s hold privacy to high standards.  Refer below for a breakdown of guidelines pertaining to multiple countries.

United States and Canada

  United States Canada
Email Regulations CAN-SPAM Act includes commercial email messages with a main purpose of advertising or promoting a product or service. Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) regulates commercial email and text messages, sharing data, and the use of misleading messages in communications.
Opt-In Laws No opt-in requirement.  Allows direct marketing emails to be sent to anyone, without permission, until they explicitly request to stop receiving messages. Opt-In required for express consent before any communication is sent.  Business must document source and time of opt-in. * Implied consent includes a two year period of allowed contact due to an “existing business relationship”.
Direct Marketing sent to email address obtained during negotiating the sale of a product or service Opt-Out Opt-Out
Direct marketing sent to a consumer’s email address obtained during the conclusion of a sale of a similar product or service Opt-Out  Opt-Out
Direct marketing sent to personal email addresses obtained from third parties, online sources, or refer-a-friend Opt-Out Opt-In
Direct marketing sent to workplace email addressed obtained from third parties, online sources, or refer-a-friend Opt-Out Opt-In
*Note:  Transactional or relationship content emails with existing customers cannot contain false or misleading information but are otherwise exempt from the CAN-SPAM Act.

 Europe

There are more regulations to consider when sending email notifications to European prospects.  The EU directive requires companies to not only ask users to opt-in but also explicitly ask for permission to track the website visitor via cookies.  The company must be clear on what information will be tracked and how it will be used.  It is important to comply with these regulations in order to keep your company and the online marketing ecosystem’s reputation in good standing.  Each country may have enforced the law to varying degrees so it may be best to comply with the countries who strictly enforce the law.

  Europe
Email Regulations  EU directive includes all direct marketing messages. This covers     charitable and political messages as well.
Opt-In Laws  
  Direct Marketing sent to email address   obtained during negotiating the sale of a   product or service Opt-In
  Direct marketing sent to a consumer’s email   address obtained during the conclusion of a   sale of a similar product or service Opt-Out
  Direct marketing sent to personal  email   addresses obtained from third parties, online   sources, or refer-a-friend Opt-In
  Direct marketing sent to workplace email   addressed obtained from third parties, online   sources, or refer-a-friend Opt-In

The EU has provided suggestions for compliance including:

  • Place a pop-up window or widget asking for permission upon first visit to website or after viewing a few pages.
  • Utilize forms to ask for consent.
  • Add clear information about consent* on the Terms & Conditions page.
  • Use highlighted headers/footers or scrolling text on specific webpages asking for permission.
  • Demonstrate cookies are necessarily to provide a service requested by user.  Example: placing items in a shopping cart.

*Note:  The EU advisory board has made it clear that consent must be given before setting or reading any cookies.

Asia Pacific

  Australia
Opt-In Laws
Direct Marketing sent to email address obtained during negotiating the sale of a product or service Opt-Out
Direct marketing sent to a consumer’s email address obtained during the conclusion of a sale of a similar product or service Opt-Out
Direct marketing sent to personal email addresses obtained from third parties, online sources, or refer-a-friend Opt-In
Direct marketing sent to workplace email addressed obtained from third parties, online sources, or refer-a-friend Opt-Out

 Other North and South American Countries

  Mexico Brazil
Opt-In Laws  
Direct Marketing sent to email address obtained during negotiating the sale of a product or service Opt-Out Opt-Out
Direct marketing sent to a consumer’s email address obtained during the conclusion of a sale of a similar product or service Opt-Out Opt-Out
Direct marketing sent to personal email addresses obtained from third parties, online sources, or refer-a-friend Opt-In Opt-Out
Direct marketing sent to workplace email addressed obtained from third parties, online sources, or refer-a-friend Opt-Out Opt-Out


*Note:  Laws are frequently changing and vary greatly from region to region.  Staying current on the laws for every region the company is conducting business in is vital for legally communicating with prospects. This resource is based on many reliable references. However, if your company has further questions about compliance laws, Elixiter recommends seeking legal counsel.  Strict penalties and fines exist in many regions for non-compliance.

References

Marketo – http://www.marketo.com/ebooks/how-new-eu-privacy-laws-will-change-your-marketing/
ActOn – http://www.screencast.com/t/aPzHGgrgVmr
Government of Canada – http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/h_00039.html

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