Fed up with the ineffectiveness so far of America’s recent ‘CAN SPAM’ Act, two US states have introduced statutory ‘do not email’ lists which must be consulted by all digital marketers before sending unrequested marketing emails. What are the rules and could we see the same here for B2B marketing emails?
Topic: Email marketing
Who: Michigan and Utah legislatures
When: July 2005
The states of Michigan and Utah brought into force "Do not spam" lists in an effort to block spam touting porn or other material harmful to minors such as alcohol and tobacco.
Under the new laws, businesses will have to buy copies of the register on which those wishing to opt out from such communications can register and face prison time and fines if they send emails to any addresses that parents submit. The lists can also include instant message addresses and cell phone and pager numbers.
The Michigan list went live on 1 July 2005 whilst the Utah list became active on 15 July.
Why this matters:
There are serious doubts in the US as to whether this move will have any significant impact on the receipt of unpleasant and harmful unsolicited digital marketing in the relevant states, although UK marketers who might be sending emails into the US might do well to take heed and check whether any of their recipients are resident there.
Here in the UK, the natural comment would be to say that such an initiative, following the raging success of the Telephone Preference Service, is irrelevant because we operate here an "opt-in" system compared with the US's "opt-out".
However, this is not the complete story. As a matter of UK law, unsolicited commercial emails sent to the office email addresses of employees of limited companies may be sent on an opt-out basis.
Those of us who experience the dubious delights of substantial amounts of unsolicited commercial email in our office inboxes may be interested in the possibility of the setting up of a UK "do not email" list designed for use exclusively by employees of limited companies. The Direct Marketing Association may wish to consider such an initiative.