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The Email Marketing Series: The CAN-SPAM Act of 2004

by | Aug 19, 2010 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

As hot as social media is these days, especially for recruiters who are looking to make placements through social media, email marketing is equally popular.  The reason is that email is just as effective as social media, if not more effective.  (Actually, the best approach for recruiters looking to maximize their efforts is to use a strategic combination of the two.)

When it comes to email marketing, the most logical place to start is the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act.  We know it by its more common name: the CAN-SPAM Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2004.

While you might think that this act is a pain in the backside, it has at least one redeeming quality, and that’s the fact it trumps all the state laws.  In other words, the only rule you have to worry about is the CAN-SPAM Act.  If you’re compliant with that, you’ll be good when it comes to sending out mass emails to candidates and client companies.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the act pertains to recruiters.

If you’re going to send out mass emails—and you more than likely are—you must adhere to the requirements listed below:

  • Your email header information can’t be misleading.
    Make sure that the subject line associated with your email campaign is straightforward and not misleading.
  • Your email communication’s “From” address must accurately identify you as the sender.
  • You must include a physical address in your email campaigns.  This address must be a valid physical postal address or P.O. box used by your recruiting firm.
  • You must provide to your recipients the ability to opt-out of future email communications from you.
    There must be a way in which for your recipients to unsubscribe from your email communications.  Any “unsubscribe” requests that you receive as a response to your email must be honored within 10 days of the request.

These are the main items that are looked at in the event that someone reports you as spam.  What happens when one or many of your recipients report you, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) of that recipient will look into the email.  If you’ve taken the guideline of the CAN-SPAM Act to heart, they may be a bit more lenient in kicking you right to the spam bucket.  Conversely, if you haven’t even tried to follow the Act, you are quickly deposited and forgotten in the aforementioned bucket.

It would be nice if that was the end of the matter, but that is not the case.  In 2008, the Federal Trade Commission chimed in on the CAN-SPAM Act by releasing its Statement of Basis and Purpose and Final Discretionary Rule regarding the act.

  • It should be clear that the “From” name and the “From” address in your campaign belong to your organization.
  • You can’t encourage recipients to forward your email by including any kind of incentive (such as a special offer) to your recipients.  The FTC determined that forwarded messages that contain an incentive to forward are not compliant under the CAN-SPAM Act.  As a result, you should be careful of how you approach and execute your email campaigns.

As I publish more articles in this series, keep in mind that they are all under the context of the CAN-SPAM act.  You must be compliant with that first before embarking upon an email campaign that will bring you more candidates and more clients.

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