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The Australian Spam Act in Profile (Part 2)

by Gordon Cramer  |  
January 11, 2005

In the first part of this two-part article, we took a look at the heart of the Australian Spam Act and how it differs from other legislation. I spent some time on the types of consent as well as the best practices associated with the consent, identification and unsubscribe requirements of the Act.

In this second part, I conclude with a description of message types, together with some examples, as well as a brief discussion on penalties and international implications. No article is complete without a call to action, and this piece is no exception.

Commercial and Factual Electronic Messages

Under the Act, there are two types of electronic message: commercial and factual. Bear in mind that the law applies to emails, SMS, IM and MMS, as well as other forms of electronic messaging, but not to faxes, telemarketing or Internet pop-ups.

Commercial Electronic Messages

A commercial message is one that contains an offer to take part in a commercial transaction or provides you with a link to a place where a transaction is offered. This means that if you have any kind of commercial content within an electronic message, then you must comply with the Act.

Commercial messages would include the following:

  • New product release information

  • Details of promotions or special offers

  • E-newsletters

  • Details on real-estate offerings

  • Invitations to special events, and so on…

In fact, any time someone includes information that you and I would both interpret as being commercial. Links to Web sites that contain commercial content would generally be enough to render a message commercial.

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Gordon Cramer is a principal consultant in Actif Communications, Queensland (

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