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Can good guys get caught in the anti-spam net?
You’re a good guy. You build relationships through quality content and trust. You never spam. You’ve worked hard to build your permission-based email list. You respect your subscribers’ time. You don’t need a law to tell you the right way to treat people.
You’re not one of the bad guys, who buy lists, spam strangers, assault inboxes or entrap with manipulative sales tactics.
But you’re concerned about the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) that goes into effect July 1.
You don’t want to be the dolphin that gets caught in the fisherman’s net.
Maybe, like me, you’ve been publishing for years and have not kept records of people subscribing. Sometimes they’ve given you their business card and told you to sign them up, so there’s no record of them subscribing with your email provider.
I’m such a good guy that I actually titled a newsletter “Please unsubscribe from my newsletter,” and encouraged people who never seem to open it to remove themselves from the list. Only one person did.
I don’t take unsubscribes personally. Often I subscribe to newsletters when I’m hot on a topic, then cool down later. Like everybody, I’m always trying to tame the email beast. I understand.
I know there’s a complicated way to clean my list. But I’m too busy.
I know I could also ask everyone to re-subscribe. But they’re busy too.
The government won’t start imposing penalties for three years. If I’ve done something wrong, I don’t have to worry. I may be cavorting in Bora Bora. As a small fish, I’m not juicy target. Or maybe not. You never know if the government could go for a cash grab.
Will it deter the bad guys?
On the other hand, I’m concerned about how CASL will keep the bad guys out of my inbox. I don’t think the Nigerians are sweating, unless it’s from the African heat.
What’s more, I’m miffed about the exemptions. For example, if your email address is on your web site (social media too?), the law considers you’re giving permission. If you have ever done business or have any other relationship, however tenuous, with the sender, you have given permission.
In most cases, the requirement for a quick unsubscribe will get you off the hook. Mind you, with really cheesy spam, I don’t click on the unsubscribe link, because it confirms that the spammer has reached an actual email address.
I am sending in some advance questions that he has promised to answer.
What do I have to do to verify that I have permission to send my newsletter to specific subscribers?
If I don’t do this perfectly over the next three years, will I be liable for penalties when they go into effect? Will they track me down in Bora Bora?
How will this keep the sleaziest spammers out of my inbox?
Should I remove my email address from my social media profiles?
Why pick on me? I’m a good guy.
Send your questions too.