Actif releases global e-mail format

Published on .

By Kate Maddox

To help global e-mail marketers comply with spam laws in various countries, Australian Internet marketing consultant Actif Communications has released a Global eMail Format.

The GEF is a document that combines best practices in e-mail marketing with a recommended set of guidelines that meet or exceed the requirements of the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, the Australian Spam Act and the EU Directives.

"The challenge for legitimate e-mail marketers is that there are variances and differences in legislation from country to country," said Gordon Cramer, principal consultant of Actif Communications, Buderim, Queensland, Australia. "The EU Directives and Australian Spam Act are both opt-in, and the U.S. is opt-out. That is a fundamental difference."

Another difference in spam legislation is that in the U.S., marketers must provide a clear description of the e-mail’s content within the subject line, but in Australia, that is not required, Cramer said.

"What we need to do is to look at a set of practices that meet or exceed the requirements of the three sets of legislation," Cramer said.

Following are some of the GEF guidelines:

  • The "from" line should clearly state the name of the person or company that sent the e-mail.
  • The "to" line should be personalized for the recipient.
  • The "subject" line should not contain a misleading description of the content of the e-mail.
  • Each e-mail should have a valid return e-mail address, and that address should be reasonably likely to remain accurate for a period of 30 days following the sending of the e-mail.
  • The opening line of the e-mail should be personalized.
  • The e-mail’s content must match the subject line description of content in order to meet or exceed the requirements of the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act.
  • The signature line should contain the physical address of the sender. A post office box is not sufficient.
  • Links should be provided to an unsubscribe form, the e-mail provider’s privacy statement, the sender’s anti-spam policy and the recipient’s profile.

The GEF also provides best practices and guidelines for e-mail management, including the following:

  • E-mail should be opt-in to comply with all three sets of legislation.
  • Registrations should be at least a ‘confirmed opt-in,’ or better yet, a ‘double opt-in’.
  • Requests to unsubscribe should be acted upon within five business days.

The complete GEF and an online tutorial about how to use it are available at

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