While US and UK and various other international laws offer some protection and are a step in the right direction for reducing the spam problem, we don’t feel they go far enough. Our definition of spam goes beyond the laws in most countries and encompasses what we believe to be true permission email marketing.
Spam is defined as any email you send to someone who hasn’t given you their direct permission to contact them on the topic of the email.
Unfortunately ‘permission’ can be easily misinterpreted so we need to illustrate some specific scenarios so that you can be clear as users what does and doesn’t constitute permission.
What kind of email addresses are OK to send to with InTouch?
To send email to someone using InTouch, you must have explicitly obtained their permission. This could be done in a number of ways:
- Using an email newsletter subscribe form on your web site.
- Using an opt-in checkbox on a web form. You cannot set this to be checked by default, as this would still constitute an opt-out, the person completing the form needs to positively select the checkbox to indicate they want to hear from you.
- If someone fills in an offline paper form like a survey or enters a competition, typically at a trade show or exhibition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that you would be contacting them by email AND they ticked a box indicating that they have given you explicit permission to contact them.
- Customers who have purchased from you within the last 2 years.
- If someone gives you their business card and you have explicitly asked for permission to add them to your email subscriber list, you may contact them. If they left their business card in a bowl at a trade show or conference, there must be a sign indicating they will be contacted by email about that specific topic.
Obviously we cannot cover every potential scenario that could occur but the basic rule is that you need explicit permission from the person you are emailing to email them about the subject of the email. However it is fine to email a weekly newsletter to someone who has signed up knowingly to receive a weekly newsletter – they do not need to know what the content is going to be in advance!
What kind of email address ARE NOT OK to send to with InTouch?
Pretty much anything outside of the examples above is out of bounds as far as we are concerned. Just to be clear there are some specific examples that we commonly encounter below. By using InTouch, you agree not to import or send to any email address which:
- You do not have explicit, provable permission to contact in relation to the topic of the email you are sending.
- You have purchased, loaned, rented or in any way acquired from a third party, no matter what they claim about quality or permission. You need to obtain permission yourself for your email sends.
- You haven’t contacted in the last 2 years. Permission is not permanent and doesn’t age well these people may have either changed email address (your email may bounce) or won’t remember giving their permission in the first place – in which case they will probably mark your email as spam.
- You scraped or copied and pasted from the web or any other database you may have access to. Just because people publish their email address doesn’t mean they have given you permission to communicate with them.
Some of these people might have given you their email address, but what’s missing is their explicit permission to email them commercial messages. Sending promotional emails to any of these people is not an effective marketing technique, costs you money and will more than likely see your email marked as spam by many of your recipients.
What content MUST I include in my email?
Every email you send using InTouch must include the following:
- A single-click unsubscribe link that instantly removes the subscriber from your list. Once they unsubscribe, you can never email them again, unless at a later date they explicitly ask to be re-contacted and added back into your list.
- The name and physical address of the sender (your business/organisation).
How we’ll remotely monitor ‘permission’.
We have to take spam email very seriously as our business depends on sending successful campaigns to recipients who have agreed to receive your emails. To protect ourselves as well as you we have a number of layers approval and monitoring to ensure you comply with our anti-spam policy. Here are a few of them:
- Until your overall account has been approved by a member of our team, every email campaign you send will need to be individually approved.
- Our software is directly integrated into the spam reporting systems for some of the biggest ISP’s like Hotmail and AOL. If you don’t have permission and someone marks your campaign as spam, we’ll know about it as soon as the email is marked. If your complaint rate exceeds 0.3% of all recipients (3 in one thousand) you will receive a warning email which requests an explanation and gives you some advice. This is a very generous figure that takes into account false spam reports. Higher levels of complaints may well result in accounts being locked or terminated.
- Our team verifies all large subscriber lists imported into our software. Until we’ve given it the all clear, you can’t send to it.
- We monitor blacklists and our abuse accounts all day every day. We can pinpoint who is causing us delivery problems or attracting complaints very easily.
If we do discover that you’re emailing people without their permission, we will terminate your account with InTouch immediately – our business and reputation depend on us taking this action.
In the end, it comes down to common sense. As a private individual we’re sure you hate spam as much as the next person so put yourself in your recipient’s shoes; if they don’t recognise who you are or they are not interested in what you’re sending them, they’ll think you’re a spammer and at best will ignore you, or worse they’ll report you. It’s as simple as that.
If you have any questions about our Anti-Spam Policy, or if you want to report spamming activity by one of our customers, please contact our abuse department at:
InTouch Digital Ltd
Wheal Kitty Studios
Telephone: 0845 415 4124