Since the Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL) went into effect on July 1, 2014, email marketers have been nervous to see what kinds of penalty might be imposed on those caught breaking the rules. Well, that time has finally come: Quebec-based company, Compu-Finder was fined $1.1 million last month. This has understandably raised concerns in the email marketing industry.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has stressed that they only intend to levy fines against the worst offenders, not companies that make small mistakes. So, what did Compu-Finder do to be given such a severe penalty? According to Yahoo! News Canada, the CRTC said it found Compu-Finder guilty of four violations. They also noted that Compu-Finder was responsible for 25% of the 250,000 spam complaints that CRTC received. The CRTC also fined a dating website called PlentyOfFish Media Inc. a few weeks ago. However, they were fined a much lower fee of $48,000 because the company moved quickly to bring itself into compliance with CASL. So, if you are wondering what you need to do to remain CASL compliant, keep the following 8 principles in mind.

1.   Clear Opt-In

You must be very clear to people during sign-up that they will be receiving your emails in the future. The message needs to be obvious, visible, and easy to find.

2.   No Pre-Checked Opt-In Boxes

If a checkbox is used to opt-in subscribers, it must be unselected by default. The opt-in should require the subscriber to select the checkbox themselves, indicating they wish to receive your emails.

3.   Physical Contact Info

Email subscribers must be provided with the name of the person sending the email and a physical mailing address. Also, make sure to include an email address, phone number, or website. All contact information needs to be visible at the point of subscription and valid for a minimum of 60 days after sending an email.

4.   60 Day Opt-out Option

All emails must contain an easy-to-find unsubscribe link that is valid for 60 days. All unsubscribe requests must be done within 10 days or less and at no cost to the recipient.

5.   Relevant Subject Line

The email subject line must relate to the content of the email. No part of the email message can be misleading or false.

6.   Implied Consent

Implied consent, such as purchases from a website, ongoing business relationships, contracts, etc., are permitted, as long as they meet the other CASL guidelines. Implied consent that occurs from a business relationship or transaction are valid for up to 2 years from the date of the original communication that implied consent.

7.   Mobile Text

The CASL applies to mobile and text applications too. A text message sender should include a link to a landing page containing contact information and an unsubscribe option.

8.   Keep Records

Make sure to keep track of all opt-in records in case you are ever asked about the opt-in of a particular subscriber.

Some of the above principles may be obvious, but they can be confusing if you do not fully understand how CASL works, or are new to email marketing. You need to make sure you understand your email marketing responsibilities in order to be successful. If you have any further questions about CASL and/or would like to deliver clean, opted-in emails, please feel free to contact one of our marketing experts at US Data Corporation at (888) 578-3282.

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