Oh, Canada: Changes Made to Anti-Spam Bill

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For the average email user, anti-spam measures are viewed as a good thing. After all, most inboxes are already crammed with daily deals offers, marketing newsletters, e-commerce receipts and maybe even the occasional personal email. No one needs some unsolicited nonsense cluttering things up even more.

For email marketers, however, anti-spam may sound like the kiss of death. Not that all, or even most, email marketing programs are spam-ridden, but often casual users and government regulators have trouble telling the difference.

Which is precisely why many email marketers were holding their collective breath in anticipation of newly proposed anti-spam legislation in Canada. Fortunately, after analyzing the bill, they generally agreed that it’s nothing to lose sleep over.

Many initially had understandable reservations when the legislation was first proposed last fall, but most now feel as though the bill has been drastically improved, in large part due to cooperation with the email marketing industry.

One of the biggest changes to the legislation deals with opt-in consent. Before, the bill insisted that all opt-in consent be granted in written form, but it has since been changed to allow for verbal permission as well.

The initial draft also required email marketers to let subscribers opt-out in a maximum of two clicks, but the new version changes the working to read “readily performed.”

Email marketers worried about similar measures being brought up in the United States needn’t, at least not yet. Much of this recent Canadian legislation was intended to have broader application, more intense penalties and has a greater reach outside of Canadian borders than the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act passed in 2003.

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