Email Marketing Success - Understanding Legislation

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If you’re anything like me, there’s a sense of excitement when you go and check your inbox each morning. There, you may find an email from a friend, the recruiter from a job you recently applied for, discounts to your favorite stores, etc. However, there is always a risk that the majority of new messages you received were unwanted and worthless to you. This can be extremely frustrating and not the best way to start your day, especially if you haven’t had your coffee just yet.

Whether you are brand new to email marketing or a seasoned veteran in the industry, it’s always important to brush up on the current laws that are in place to mitigate spam.

Here at Act! emarketing, we take unsolicited commercial email (aka Spam) very seriously as it can have a lasting impact on your reputation as an email sender.

What is Spam?

Spam is an email that is considered unsolicited by the recipient. It can be non-malicious emails regarding products or services that you are trying to promote to an audience. Conversely, spam messages can be malicious in the attempt to steal your identity by adding a virus to your computer if you were to click a link embedded in the email.

CAN-SPAM Compliance

The Federal CAN-SPAM Act was put into effect on January 1st, 2004. The law set the rules for commercial email, outlines the requirements for senders of email and also allows recipients the ability to unsubscribe from receiving future email communication from the sender. On top of these strict requirements, there are hefty fines associated with any individual or business that violates the rules outlined within the law.

You can read more about CAN-SPAM, and how to be compliant here.


The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation came into effect on July 1st, 2014. Similar to the CAN-SPAM Act, its existence is an effort to protect Canadians from receiving unwanted emails, while holding businesses accountable to sending only to “express” permission-based contacts.

Ken Quigley from has drafted an excellent overview of the law and how his product can assist Canadian businesses with getting CASL compliant. Read Ken's take here