GRAPHICMAIL – A few weeks ago, the California appellate court made a new ruling about email sender identification that will greatly affect marketers across the U.S.: From now on, commercial email advertisements (in other words, only email sent specifically to sell a product or advertise a service) must include a domain name that is registered to the sender in the “from” line of the email, or the name of the sender or marketer on whose behalf the email was sent, to help prevent people from getting commercial emails that contain false or misrepresenting header information.
All American businesses need to be concerned about the California spam law, because if you are advertising to somebody in California, then you are under California’s jurisdiction and subject to their laws.
To be fully compliant with the law, email marketers within the U.S. need to do the following:
1. The best thing to do, ideally, is to use your own domain — not, for example, an @gmail.com or an @yahoo.com account — as your “from” address.
2. If, for some reason, you cannot do that, make sure your company name is clearly stated in the from name (such as “email@example.com”).
3. Once you’ve done that, you need to make sure that your “from” domain (for example, “tomsflowers.com”) has a whois.com record that any member of the public can look up.
4. Lastly, make sure that all the information in your whois.com listing is correct and that your registered address corresponds with the physical address in your email footer.
What this law is really all about
Overall, the intention behind the new statute is to make commercial emails more traceable and to reduce some of the deliberate misrepresentation that has become commonplace in the digital world today.
As long as you’re not using nonsense or random domain names to try and evade spam filters and fool readers about what you’re offering or who you are, and as long as you’re making an effort to identify yourself — your email marketing campaigns will be on the right side of the law.