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When Emailing Lists Go Off – The Law isn’t the ass; it’s you!

I’m sure almost all of you would be on a mailing list of some sort, it’s unavoidable these days. It is the no-brainer PR tool of our era. When most people spend their working day sending and receiving, the easiest way for websites to target their market directly by getting you when you’re guard is down at the counter of your favourite store or at the door of a nightclub. It seems harmless enough at the time to scribble down your email address, but in fact you are soliciting a potential floodgate.Here in Australia, we have a adopted a law based on an American model.

The Spam Act of 2003 states that companies or websites using mailing lists are obliged to address specifics such as: –

– Consent – must obtain proof of consent to contact the recipient

– Identify – include accurate information to identify the website/organisation as the authorised sender of the message in the email

– Unsubscribe – email messages must have a functional unsubscribe facility allowing recipients to permanently opt out of the list at any time.

    Now, as long as I can easily unsubscribe at any time I have no issue being signed up to a mailing list. What really is annoying is when you have no way to unsubscribe or the mailing list breaks and then all sort of nonsense happens. This was the case last week with a mailing list for a methodical NY Street label. Their email list broke and all of a sudden every reply back was sent to everyone on the mailing list so it has become one big email orgy and so far it hasn’t occurred to anyone controlling it to shut it off.

    I have had the pleasure of experiencing this in the past when the sender was too cheap to use a third party web based emailer for sending out e-flyers. The result is a million people asking to be unsubscribed and telling everyone else not to reply all.

    I suppose these things happen, but there are A LOT of Australian small businesses and designers who fall into the same trap out of ignorance. This may well be a cheaper option, but you run the risk of breaking the law (OK, so who cares?) or alienating the exact people you are trying to win over which is far worse a crime!

    – David Goldberg – article provided by Design Federation

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