I seem to be receiving an increasing number of emails recently that not only constitute SPAM, but in doing so, fall foul of Legislation surrounding the topic.
This last week alone, I have received emails that have:
- CC’d numerous other contacts, whose details, including mine, have been visible to all recipients (instead of BCC)
- Failed to include the simple ability to “Unsubscribe”
- Received emails from a company that I have unsubscribed from on more than one occasion
Now I’m not going to mention names, as that would be unprofessional of me, needless to say these particular wrong-doers have been made fully aware of their errors. The thing is, not only have they annoyed me beyond comprehension, they’ve also lost me as a customer / client / prospect. We can all make mistakes, however companies that frequently undertake such methods of communication are the ones who have brought about the EU’s desire to bring in tougher legislation.
Whilst the protection of peoples’ and companies’ data cannot be taken too seriously, in order to combat the increase in illegal activity, the EU has proposed legislative changes to policy so tough that if passed in their proposed fullness, the action of direct marketing would be changed beyond recognition, forcing many businesses to scrap this method of marketing. It goes without saying that such action would have a dramatic effect on the marketing industry, forcing many compliant and legitimate businesses such as mine to close shop, quite literally, overnight. How unfair would that be when there’s little doubt that many of those currently non-compliant companies would continue to conduct illegal marketing campaigns regardless and if caught, pay the fine or close and re-open under a different guise……
So, I thought it might be beneficial to make people aware of what legislation dictates the standards relevant to email marketing need to be upheld, if one is to be compliant. Whilst the full (and lengthy) description regarding this legislation is available for all to view at http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/privacy_and_electronic_communications/the_guide/electronic_mail, in a nutshell:
- You cannot transmit, or instigate the transmission of, unsolicited marketing material by electronic mail to an individual subscriber unless they have previously notified you, the sender, that they consent, for the time being, to receiving such communications. There is an exception to this rule which has been widely referred to as the soft opt in (Regulation 22(2) refers).
- You cannot transmit, or instigate the transmission of, any marketing by electronic mail (whether solicited or unsolicited) to any subscriber (whether corporate or individual) where:A subscriber must not allow their line to be used to breach Regulation 22(2) (Regulation 22(4) refers).
- Your identity has been disguised or concealed; or
- you have not provided a valid address to which the recipient can send an opt-out request.
- That electronic mail would contravene regulations 7 or 8 of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2013); or
- That electronic mail encourages recipients to visit websites which contravene those regulations (Regulation 23 refers).
In terms of “Soft Opt In” (Regulation 22(2)):
You may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for marketing purposes to an individual subscriber where:
- you have obtained the contact details of the recipient in the course of a sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;
- the direct marketing material you are sending relates to your similar products and services only; and
- the recipient was given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the cost of transmission) the use of their contact details for marketing purposes when those details were initially collected and, if they did not refuse the use of those details, at the time of each subsequent communication.
Needless to say, I urge you all to give this matter your urgent attention and if you are the recipient of any emails that fail to comply with this legislation, you make the instigator fully aware of their error. Furthermore, please ensure they are left in no doubt that any further breach would result in your reporting them to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
For the record, Data Bubble Consultancy Limited is registered with the ICO (Ref: Z2077320). Furthermore, all business email lists, as well as consumer email lists, that Data Bubble provides to its clients are fully opted in for third party marketing, hence our data fully complies with legislation. I only wish others could say the same thin