From Lunch Meat to a Castle (or From SPAM to CASL)

SPAM VikingPersonally, I received a lot of emails in June telling me that I “had to” respond to people or risk losing contact with some parties with important information for me.  I was pretty overjoyed about that actually.

41 companies or individuals contacted me to ask for my express consent to be contacted electronically.  Of those I think I responded positively to 14 of them.  The methods for response varied, some were low tech and some high tech, but all were done by email or web interaction.  The requirements for express consent under Canada’s new CASL (Canadian Anti-SPAM Law) are fairly clear, and they can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.  (References are below.)

Having effectively declined emails from 66% of the parties that contacted me does not make me hopeful about getting 2/3 less spam in my inbox, but I hope it does make companies act more responsibly in the future.

Have you ever attended a networking event and given out your card, only to find yourself “subscribed” to someone’s product newsletter?  Under CASL that would be illegal.  It was always rude, but now someone could possibly be charged under this law.

It is not, however illegal to email someone and say, “Hey remember we talked at that function yesterday?”  CASL does not prevent people from emailing each other.  The Chamber of Commerce has published a good article summarizing things.  (References are below.)I don't like SPAM!

There was a lot of tone in the emails that there was a “deadline”.  There is no deadline for obtaining express consent, however as of July 1st 2014, companies who cannot prove that they have express consent can no longer legally send out emails promoting their products and services.

I noticed a lot of variety in the type of emails I got asking for my consent.  Some sounded very legal, and some sounded like marketing, and some sounded friendly.  As always, there is an art to crafting an email so that it will be well-received.  When asking for express consent, remember that it is still a marketing email and you have to impress the other person.  You must be compliant with CASL, but there is no need to make the request sound like a legal matter.

If you would like help in managing your mailing list, and ensuring compliance, we recommend xLAB Interactive, a 100% Helpdesk affiliated company that has specialized in online marketing and communications for the past ten years.  Or, contact us for more information or to assess your situation.

And for those who don’t know, this video is the origin of the word “SPAM” in reference to email. The relentlessness of the SPAM seller seems to be the thing.



xLAB Interactive: xLAB Interactive

Monty Python’s SPAM Skit:

Government of Canada CASL page:

Chamber of Commerce Overview Article:

Legal Wording / Text of the Act:

CRTC (Canadian Radio/Telecommunications Commission) FAQ: