Tuesday, 1 November 2005

More on CAN-SPAM

Yesterday, I blogged about the CAN-SPAM Act and how some people think it's a lame duck. Here are some more thoughts...

It's a myth that "unsubscribing from spam gets you more spam." It's certainly true that tests have shown that submitting new spamtrap addresses to some spammers' unsubscribe forms means that spam gets sent to those addresses, but the nature of spammers is that it's more trouble than it's worth to try and weed out dead addresses. It's unfortunate that the industry has told people not to unsubscribe.

It's also a myth that CAN-SPAM allows you to "spam until you get an opt out" -- legal, legitimate direct marketers may only send unsolicited email to those who have given permission for their email to be sold to such marketers.

There are many potential holes in the above, but in my experience users can tell fairly well which solicitations are legitimate and which aren't. In other words, they're quite capable of unsubscribing from most legitimate DM.

CAN-SPAM simply does not permit spammers to spam. More to the point, it clearly codifies the spam problem as US residents experience it: the vast majority of spam breaks these rules and so is illegal in the US:

  • Thou shalt not harvest
  • Thy subject shalt not be deceiving
  • Thou shalt not be untruthful in headers
  • Thou shalt include thy physical address (not a PO box)

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