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Canadian Anti-spam Law: What You Don’t Know May Hurt You

Well, we are now more than a week into the new Canadian Anti-spam Law (CASL) and many people remained as confused, or maybe more so, than before it came into effect.  So, let’s take a high-level look at the What You Don’t Know (or may not know):

CASL: What you don't know can hurt you, heatherannemaclean.wordpress.com

Image courtesy of www.hrlegalist.com

1.  CASL does not apply to personal or familial relationships.

2.  If you have a legal contract with the other party, you are exempt.

3.  Just because a person downloads a document from your website, does not mean that you have express consent to send email.

4.  Implied consent expires in six months if a prospect doesn’t become a client; and in two years if an existing client doesn’t buy something new or doesn’t renew their subscription, loan, account or contract. (source:  Deloitte)

5.  If recipients voluntarily disclose their email address, and don’t state that they don’t want to be emailed, you have consent.

6.  This law applies to companies outside of Canada.  If you are in the United States, the United Kingdom, or elsewhere, technically you are supposed to adhere to the new law. No one is quite sure how this will be enforced, but it is the law.

7. Think it only applies to email?  Think again.  Any electronic message with the purpose of performing a commercial function is subject to CASL. Of course there are exceptions, like BBM messaging and InMail.

8.  You can send email or other commercial electronic messages outside the country, but you are supposed to ensure that you comply with that countries laws.

9.  Even if you have express consent, you still need to add your mailing address, contact information and an unsubscribe in all email.  As soon as someone unsubscribes, you have lost express consent.  There are exceptions of course.  For example if you have a legal agreement, you can still communicate.

So, these are just nine things that some people don’t know about CASL.  We will continue to watch as CASL unfolds and people begin to challenge the process. We will keep you updated as we learn more.

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Canada’s Anti-spam Law (CASL) Just Made Inbound Marketing More Important

It’s official.  As of yesterday Canada’s new Anti-spam Law affectionately known as CASL came into effect. While many of us have been following, reading and sharing what we can about this new and somewhat ridiculous law, there is still a significant amount of confusion around it all.  Not only do people still not understand what constitutes a commercial electronic message (CEM), but also people are debating what they have to actually do around existing business relationships.

heatherannemaclean.wordpress.com, taylormade solutions

Image courtesy of listorres.com

As Canadian business owners this new law is really complicating things for us.  I now have to have permission from a person in advance to send an email.  Of course there are qualifications to this. For example, if someone reaches out to my business via email, I can respond. If they send me a compliant via email, I can respond. If their contact information is somewhere on the web and they haven’t deemed that they don’t want email sent to them, I can send an email. If I go to a conference and/or networking event and someone hands me her business card, then I can also send an email to that person; but and there is a but…I now need to keep said business card of every person I meet. I also need to write on the business card when and where I met said person AND just to be prudent, I should send an email asking if if is ok to send email.  Kinda silly right?  Right! Oh, of course I can’t add them to a mailing list for my company newsletter. This is not something I do anyway without consent, but thought I would mention it.

Oh, and I should note that just because you live in the United States or Great Britain, you should know that this law also applies to YOU.  Indeed.  Anyone sending a commercial electronic message that could be read IN Canada is covered by CASL.  I along with thousands and thousands of Canadians are wondering how this will be enforced outside of Canada.  For legitimate companies, they will comply and try to ensure that they get us to “opt-in” and offer an opt-out option, but it is not really those companies that are the issue.  No, of course not.  There are people from other areas, which shall not be named herein, that use masking services and send unsolicited email all of the time.  This law will not mean a thing to them AND they will continue to send their email, unscathed and untouched.

So, it has become ever so more important for companies to employ inbound marketing as a normal course of business. If you haven’t established inbound marketing techniques you definitely need to.  While there are many great advantages to having an inbound strategy, one of them is having people opt-in every time they download your great content.  For those in Canada who don’t want to run the risk of millions of dollars in fines, you will want to learn about this ASAP.  (Oh, and I can help, but I digress).

I really can’t wait to see how this all unfolds over the next 36 months, which is our grace period to get consent. I know that I will have a lot of great blog content come out of it.   However, as a business owner, and a small business at that, I can say that while I truly value the effort being made to curb spam – the intent and spirit is truly admirable for Government to take on this role – it might make it a little more challenging to do business.

Love to hear your thoughts on CASL.  Will it make your life easier? Or more difficult.

 

 

 

 

9 Myths About the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL)

Since the announcement that Canada is implementing new anti-spam legislation, affectionately known as CASL, there have been mixed reports on what this means. I, along with  many others began writing about this new legislation hoping to clarify points and raise questions where there were uncertainties.  Thankfully there have been many clarifications, but still many people have misconceptions about what this new law means.  Here are some of the top misconceptions that I have heard:

CASL, Anti-spam law, heatherannemaclean.wordpress.com

Image courtesy of www.inboundsales.net

1.  This new legislation is about spam

True and False. Yes, it applies to spam for the consumer, but it is first and foremost about your business.  This new legislation can have significant impacts on your bottom line.  Not only are you potentially exposing your business to very large fines, but it also means reviewing, reassessing and modifying business processes. As a result, understanding what this law means and does not mean is essential for your business.  Ensure that you have at least one person who fully understands what the implications and ramifications are for your business. Don’t leave it to chance.

2.  This law only applies to email

False.  This law applies to ALL consumer electronic messages (CEM), including text messages and social networking.  To be clear it doesn’t impact Facebook Wall Posts or even Twitter posts, but rather direct messaging using those media, and others.

3.  This law applies only to mass communications

False.  This new law applies to one-to-one communications or one-to-many (mass communications).

4.  This only applies to Canadian Companies

False.  This applies to any company sending CEMs to people living in Canada.  If you are located in the United States and sending CEMs and they could potential reach a Canadian in your database, you are subject to this law.  Admittedly,  I am not sure how this will be enforced.

5. You can no longer use LinkedIn InMail to communicate with Canadians

False.  Additional exemptions have been made.  They include CEMs sent from instant messaging platforms such as BBM messenger and LinkedIn InMail where the required identification and unsubscribe mechanisms are clearly published on the user interface. (source:  Deloitte)

6.  Canadian companies can no longer send CEMs to people in foreign countries

False.  Canadians can send CEMs to parties outside Canada, as long as listed in Schedule 1 of the CASL Regulations and they are  not in violation of similar laws in those same countries.

7. I need to go out and get permission from existing customers to communicate with them now

False.  CEMs sent to and from businesses or organizations with an existing B2B relationship, can continue to do so.  CEMs sent in response to enquiries, requests or complaints are also exempt.  However, more detail is provided below.

8. My company does not have express consent from every contact in our database, so now we must rely on telephone or snail mail

False. Express consent is not needed in the context of an existing business or non-business relationship.  (Note: there are conditions.  See #9)  The same is true in the context of  recipients who publish their electronic contact information or, voluntarily disclose it without indicating they don’t want to receive communications. (source: Deloitte)

9.  I need a business process to monitor consent from business contacts, because they expire

True and False.  The legislation does provide a transition period for implied consent. Section 66, states that consent to send CEMs is implied for a period of 36 months beginning July 1, 2014, where there is an existing B2B relationship that includes the communication of CEMs.  However, if the recipient indicates that he or she no longer want CEMs, the period has ended for that party.  It is suggested by government that this is a good time to seek out consent.

It is important to note however that express consent does not expire after a certain period of time has passed. If you obtain valid express consent before July 1, 2014, then that express consent remains valid after the legislation comes into force. It does not expire, until the recipient withdraws their consent. (Source: Government of Canada)

There is no question that organizations need to adjust to this new way of doing business and having the right information will help alleviate some of the stress/concerns that businesses have. It should also be noted that Charities and Political Parties are exempt from CASL.

For more information, feel free to reach out to TaylorMade Solutions.

What Canada’s New Anti Spam Law Means For Marketers (Even in the US)

Do you have customers in Canada?  Do you email your customers?  Thinking about setting up an email campaign for your customers?  Now is the time to learn about the new Canadian Anti Spam Law that comes into effect this July (2014) in Canada, and yes this applies to companies based in the United States.

Image courtesy of www.inboundsales.net

Image courtesy of www.inboundsales.net

This new law is expected to have the most severe penalties in place for those who violate.  The maximum penalty for an individual that sends out spam is $10,000 and $1,000,000 for an organization.

With email marketing making a resurgence of sorts, this new legislation will make it far more difficult for companies to employ new marketing tactics to reach customers and even more difficult to reach prospects.  With 2014 really being the year of mobile (in my opinion), this will definitely throw a wrench into the mix.  Marketers are going to have to come up with new ways to get the coveted attention of the audience.

Here is a synopsis of what you need to know:

1.  Existing Email Lists

If you have an existing relationship, it is expected that you will have a very clear process for opting out if the recipient decides that he or she no longer wishes to receive email.

Implications:  If you do not have a very clear (and easy) process for customers, you are at risk for violating the anti spam law.

AND very importantly  the email MUST be relevant to the recipient’s role and/or duties.

Implications:  This is an important nuance that marketers must be aware of.

2.  Buying New Email Lists

While this new law does not prohibit the buying new email lists, it is very clear that all parties must adhere to the existing Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).  Additionally, the same rules apply for having express consent and also having a clear opt-out process.

Implications:  There will be an extra level of due diligence required for companies both selling and buying lists.  The question you need to ask yourself in order to protect you and your organization is:  Will you be able to determine if Canadians are included in the lists?

3.  Text Messages and “Cellphone” Spam

Think you can still text or reach out by cellphone?  Think again.  The same conditions for email apply to these marketing/communications tools.

Implications:  Your text messages now need to have an opt-out option AND you need express consent.  From a personal standpoint I can relate to this. Organizations texting me and I never signed up to receive texts.  This will be an interesting scenario for travellers to the US.  How will phone companies be handling sending text messages to Canadians when we have not expressly consented?  What will happen as a result of unwanted text messages?

4.  Does this legislation cover all businesses, including government and not-for-profits?

Like the Canadian Do-Not-Call list, it does not.

Political parties and charities are exempt as long as they are not engaging with people for the primary reason of selling and/or promoting a product.  Some might argue that a political party promoting a candidate is selling a product, but it is not clear how this fits into the equation.  This might actually be a good test-case for the law.  Based on the Do-Not-Call list, I suspect that politicians can still send such email.

5.  When exactly does this new law come into effect?

While the key provisions will be effective July 1, 2014, the full effects will not be in place for 36 months.  In fact, small business and not-for-profits are being given this grace period to accommodate the changes that this means for them.  Realizing that they might have the technology and/or resources of larger and for-profit organizations, the government is providing more time to these organizations to make the change.

Do you have concerns over this new legislation?  Are you versed on these changes?  I would love to hear your thoughts.