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What is the CAN-SPAM Act?

Many business owners, including professionals like doctors and dentists, use online marketing as a way to bring in customers and clients. E-mail can be a very effective marketing tool. However, it's essential not to run afoul of laws designed to protect consumers from false marketing claims.

The CAN-SPAM Act provides requirements that people who send marketing messages via the internet must abide by. Even when business owners hire an outside vendor to handle their e-mail marketing, they still bear responsibility for any breaches of the law. They can find themselves facing fines of up to $16,000.

Following are some key requirements set by the CAN-SPAM Act for marketing e-mails:

-- The information in the header must be accurate so that the recipient can accurately identify who sent the e-mail.

-- The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.

-- The message must include a valid mailing address for the sender.

-- The message must state somewhere that it is an advertisement.

-- Recipients must be given an option to opt out of future e-mail messages. That option must be easy to find in the e-mail, and those opt-out requests must be handled in a timely manner and at no charge to the recipient.

Before you do any e-mail marketing, it's essential to know the laws. They are in place to help prevent consumers from being duped by phony marketing schemes. However, legitimate business owners and professionals can unintentionally break these laws. An Ohio attorney experienced in internet crimes can provide guidance if you have questions or find yourself charged with a spam-related offense.

Source: Physician's Money Digest, "E-mail Marketing and CAN-SPAM Laws," Christopher Burton, MD, accessed Dec. 23, 2016

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