Today I received an email from a customer who complained that we were spamming him. He requested that we not send him any more spam. This is easy, since we don’t send any spam to anyone. We did, however, remove his address from our mailing list just to avoid any arguments about future mailings.
So what constitutes “spam” and how can I say with confidence that we’re not spammers?
To qualify as “spam”, a message has to be unsolicited and commercial. Commercial is pretty easy in our case; all of our email is commercial so there’s no point in arguing that point. The question is whether or not it is “unsolicited”.
“To solicit” basically means “to request”. Solicitation can be explicit or implicit. When you sign up for our mailing lists at lists.laridian.com you are explicitly soliciting email from us. So email that comes from the list isn’t unsolicited.
When you purchase a product from us, you make an implicit request for email from us. For example, we may send an email confirming your order. We may send your login credentials by email. We may actually send the product you purchased to you by email. Most people don’t complain about these uses of their email addresses.
The problem for some people comes when they receive newsletters or new product announcements from us. They argue they never requested these emails, so they are unsolicited. The facts are different though. There are two reasons.
Second, the US Government has defined how we may and may not use your contact information in what is know as the CAN-SPAM Act. When you purchase something from us, any email we send related to the relationship created by the purchase is exempted from most provisions of the Act as long as it does not contain false or misleading routing information in the headers.
Pursuant to the act, we take the following steps:
- We do not use false or misleading routing information. In fact, we register our sending IP address with the Bonded Sender Program (www.senderscorecertified.com) to prove to ISPs that our emails are legitimate. So there’s motivation for us to use our actual routing information to make sure our email gets delivered to ISPs that make use of this program.
- We do not use deceptive subject lines.
- We always provide an opt-out method, and we honor it within hours, not the 10 days that the law allows.
- We always include a valid physical mailing address.
- We do not use your email address without your explicit permission beyond 18 months from the date of your last transaction with us.
We take this issue pretty seriously. We do our best not to send a huge amount of email. You shouldn’t get more than one email per month from us, and probably not even that much. We try not to send you an email without a good reason — a new product, a special offer, or important news.
So, it’s possible that you’re getting email from us that you don’t want, but it’s not spam. On the other hand, we’re sensitive to the high volume of email that many people receive and if you don’t want to receive ours, just say so.