What is the Legal Definition of Spam?

June 24, 2012 | Spam Compliance

Like this? Share it.

In my last post I outlined the 7 rules to follow to be compliant with the CAN-SPAM act. This law was passed in 2003 as a way to help reduce spam.

You may be as surprised, like I was, to learn that the FTC’s definition of spam is very small.

According to the law:

  • Is it OK to buy and sell email addresses? Yes.
  • Is it OK to scrape email addresses from web sites and then send out mass mailings? Yes.
  • Do people need to opt-in to receiving your emails? No.

As long as you give people a chance to opt-out, as well as include basic contact information you have followed the law.

Really? That’s the definition of spam?

The reality is that whenever you send out emails to people that they don’t want to receive, you’re going to be viewed as a “spammer”. Few things degrade your brand image as quickly as annoying people with spam.

You may want to read: Avoid Being Called a Spammer: 3 Categories of Spam Labels