Over the past couple of months, I’ve sent out my fair share of e-mails to potential end user purchasers. The thought hadn’t really crossed my mind that what I was sending out would be considered spam. I mean, it’s not like a was sending thousands or even hundreds of e-mails at a time. But just for the hell of it, I decided to see what really constitutes spam. I quickly came across the Federal Trade Commission website and the “CAN-SPAM Act.”
The first thing that jumped out at me was that the act isn’t just for bulk e-mail, but also covers “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” Whoa, that’s a large net to be casting, but it also screams “THIS MEANS YOU.” The fee for violating the regulation can be pretty stiff. Upwards of $16,000 per e-mail. Yes, per e-mail. So what can a domainer do to protect him or herself?
Well, I’m not a lawyer so I won’t give out any legal advice. You can consult the FTC website for an online compliance guide that does seem quite straight forward and helpful. If you enjoy light reading of legal information, you can read the entire text of the law here.
But there are a couple of things that you might like to remember. I’m going to skip over some of the things I’ll assume you are already doing if you are an honest domainer (like using the correct header information in you e-mails).
- Make sure your subject line indicates the purpose of the e-mail. If it’s regarding a domain, don’t have your subject read “Long time no see” or some other misleading wording.
- Let the recipient know how to opt out of future e-mails from you.
- Include your physical address.
You are also responsible for what others do on your behalf. If you have hired a 3rd party to manage your email campaigns, be sure they are in compliance as well. I’ll be tweaking my emails going forward to include my business address and letting recipients know that a will not contact them again if they notify me in a return e-mail. Be sure to visit the links above to get all the details you’ll need. When in doubt, consult your internet savvy lawyer.