CAN-SPAM Laws for Affiliate Marketers

If you want to be an affiliate marketer you must always stay aware of the laws in your country, state, city or province.  The CAN-SPAM Act is a federal law in the United States that, according to the Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Federal Trade Commission applies to all commercial messages sent electronically. It’s a very serious law with very punitive penalties such as each separate email that is in violation can be subject to up to a $16,000 fine.

Make sure that you educate yourself since these rules and laws can and do change. You can read the Compliance Guide for Business by clicking the link here for yourself, but essentially, it’s important to understand that these laws are designed to protect consumers but they also protect you, the affiliate marketer. If you’re using ethical business practices it is likely you won’t accidentally spam anyone but it’s good to read the laws just in case. Remember not to assume that just because someone else does something that it’s legal.

Your email header should match your real domain name. There should be no trickery involved to fool the readers about who you are. If you’re being honest and above board you want people to know your name anyway because you’re proud of your business and what you stand for. Be who you are and you’ll be fine. Further, it is required that your business name and address is in each email sent.

One issue that can cause a controversy are email subject lines. Email subject lines should be relevant to what you are going to tell people in  the email. If you use tricks to get them opened you may be accused of spam under the law. So make sure your subject line is indicative of your email message and you won’t have problems. If you are advertising something inside the email, the email should be specific that this is an advertisement or affiliate link. You can’t hide them, or make your readers believe it’s not an affiliate link or advertisement.

Always, very clearly give your readers a way to opt out of receiving more emails from you, and also make sure they double opt in to start with. Double opting in means that your readers sign up to receive your e-newsletter or mailing list on a form, usually on your website or blog, and then they receive an email confirmation that they are required to click on to confirm that they really do want to join.

It’s a good practice to explain to your readers on the email opt in form exactly what to expect from joining your list. This way it cuts down on unsubscribers later since they know what they are getting into by joining your list. Of course, it’s also important to stick by what you say, which will also discourage unsubscribing from your list. By engaging with clients, readers, customers and potential customers in an honest and above board way you will only make your business stronger.

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