Why CAN-SPAM Compliance Isn't Enough
"A while back I was speaking with a postmaster from a major ISP who said 'I don't care if the emails you send are reverse 911 emails; if clients are saying it is spam, I will block it,'" writes Chris Kolbenschlag at the Bronto blog. Though the absolutism of the statement took him by surprise, Kolbenschlag understood the logic.
"Just because YOU (the sender) may feel these emails are important to the subscribers," he reasons, "doesn't mean the people receiving them agree."
Kolbenschlag notes that ISPs are utterly indifferent to your email campaign's full compliance with CAN-SPAM; they don't, for instance, scan for obvious issues like valid postal addresses.
"ISPs block and place in the bulk folder huge amounts of emails that are CAN-SPAM compliant each day," he says. "What the ISPs care about is whether their clients want the email you are sending via feedback which determines where your emails end up."
Such ISP behavior, according to Kolbenschlag, underscores the importance of permission and relevance—and what your company considers those to be. If you're getting a lot of complaints, for instance, it's time to re-examine your definitions.
"I've seen email programs that are a disaster and not because any law was broken but because the program was a violation of ISP best practices and the consumers voiced their opinion by flagging the emails as spam," he explains.
The Po!nt: Don't confuse CAN-SPAM with best-practices: The former keeps you on the right side of the law, but it's the latter that keeps you on the right side of subscribers and ISPs.
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