As American Business Media's Washington, D.C., attorney, advising members (such as Crain Communications Inc.) on, among other things, compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, I was compelled to read the BtoB special issue on e-mail marketing (2006 E-mail Marketing Insight Guide) to see how compliance with that law was addressed.
Unless I missed it elsewhere, it appears that the only mention is in the "Ask the Expert" column on page 32, where Tricia Robinson correctly notes that the Act requires both an opt-out notice and inclusion of a physical address (although these and the other legal requirements apply only to e-mails, the "primary purpose" of which is commercial advertising or promotion).
I am concerned that readers, many of whom are probably employed by American Business Media members, may not realize that these are two, but not the only, requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act. For example, the act also requires that commercial e-mails contain "clear and conspicuous identification that the message is an advertisement or solicitation," a requirement that is often overlooked. In some instances, compliance with the law requires analysis of regulations issued by the FTC in order to determine who the "sender" of the e-mail is, which is important for compliance. There are still other requirements and prohibitions.
The lesson in all of this is that those involved in e-mail marketing must be confident that their vendors are fully informed, as most if not all no doubt are, and that if they undertake to send commercial e-mails on their own, they know the rules thoroughly. Keep in mind that as a technical matter, a single e-mail to an acquaintance must comply. The law is not restricted to e-mail campaigns. At least it's easier than faxes.
Setting limits on the 'copulation of cliches'
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Matthew Schwartz's comments (BtoB, Sept. 11, "Beyond the Biz," page 53) on cliches we really need to put to rest.
Please add "seamless integration" and "getting some traction" to the list.
Justin St. Denis
The New York Times