The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

UK Laws Will Bring Certain Marketing Automation Practices To A Halt

New laws in the UK governing the use of website cookies go into effect May 26th.  These new laws will cause issues for companies practicing marketing automation linking website behavior to an email address.  The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK has issued a 9 page document of guidelines about how companies should comply with these new laws.  Similar laws are coming to the U.S. and companies engaged in certain marketing automation practices will need to seriously rethink their tactics.  Permission-based marketing is real and is here to stay.

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Do Not Track Legislation Will Thwart Certain Marketing Automation Efforts

Do Not Track LegislationIf you're using markting automation that combines web analytics with email marketing get ready to change your game plan.  Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), head of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced a new privacy bill Monday that instructs the Federal Trade Commission to craft rules establishing standards for a universal do-not-track mechanism.  If passed, this new legislation could cause logistical headaches for marketers, especially B2B ones, who use web analytics to track and "score" leads (subscriber activity).  If you're thinking about PAYING EXTRA for these types of marketing automation systems, my advice is to hold off a bit to see where this proposed legislation ends up. 

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Clearinghouse Outreach Through Email Solutions

Clearinghouse Outreach Through Email Solutions

Almost every Federal agency has at least one clearinghouse and, based on their mission, most agencies have several clearninghouses for providing information to the public. For example most of the institutes within NIH have their own clearinghouses. Among them are the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, etc. Other government agencies with their own clearinghouses include:

  • Justice Department: National Criminal Justice Reference Service
  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Public Housing Environmental & Conservation Clearinghouse and the Mulitfamily Housing Clearinghouse
  • CDC: The National Prevention Information Network, the SAFETI Clearinghouse and the HIV/AIDS Resource
  • FCC: PSHSB clearinghouse.

These clearinghouses are mechanisms for public distribution of the latest news, publications, regulations and guidelines, best practices, etc. on a specific subject. They play an important role to the professionals in the specific field and the public that has specific interests in the subject matter. 

Both the public and professionals know that all of the information has been researched and vetted, represents factual content and is trustworthy. In other words, there is a basic trust between the consumer public and the government. 

It is easy to sign up for a general clearinghouse newsletter that may be emailed once a month, but that won’t satisfy most consumers who are usually looking for immediate answers, specific information and real-time communications updates, especially during a time of crisis.  A government agency cannot expect citizens to search its clearinghouse website every day. People want timely communications.People want to feel like they can continue that basic level of trust. But if agencies don't deliver messages at the most important time, communication with the public might be percieved as an afterthought. And that wouldn't be good.

Sophisticated email automation with dynamic content and database segmentation will allow the individuals to clearly tell government agencies exactly what content they want. At time of sign-up, the person can opt-in to allow automated email alerts via email and RSS feeds as soon as new information on the topics become available.

With sophisticated email tools such as one-click alerts (which allow the campaign to be preloaded and executed from a mobile device), and action-based messaging (such as emails triggered by someone clicking or not clicking a link for more information), clearinghouse communications can efficiently deliver the right message to the right person at the right time using the right medium.

The bottom line: Time is a commodity. Consumers depend on focused email alerts to keep up to date on the latest information essential to their needs. The right email campaign software will allow government agencies to not only save their own time, but save the public's time by focusing on the immediacy of email alerts.

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Dealing with International Spam Laws

Email marketers have spent four years figuring out and complying with the CAN SPAM regulation of 2003 for their U.S. recipients.  But, international laws also apply and some may have more reach than domestic laws. For example, the EU Privacy Directive specifies that you have a required opt-in for campaigns. 

The best strategy is to understand the make up of your mailing database and educate your marketing team on the international laws.

Visit for more information on international SPAM laws.

E-ssentials is brought to you by Gold Lasso Email Marketing

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CAN SPAM ACT - What Does it All Mean?

The Federal CAN SPAM Act “S.877” has been in effect for a little more than two months. The purpose of this legislation was to reduce the amount of spam reaching our inboxes by setting forth national standards for the use and transmission of commercial email. Has the CAN SPAM Act helped to ‘can’ spam? Well, there’s no shortage of opinions on this topic, and the debate rages on.

Whether or not the CAN-SPAM Act has gone far enough to reduce inbox clutter or frighten the spammers, almost everyone agrees that it has left many legitimate marketers confused and concerned. And for good reason. Since the inception of this legislation, the leading technology, web service and Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) have been in a race to come up with their own ‘solutions’ to the spam problem. You can’t pick up an article on spam without reading about filtering software, authentication and detection programs, desktop spam blockers, suppression lists, white lists, black lists, certifications and digital signatures.

Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled technical specifications for an email authentication system similar to caller ID for email. Rather than using simple filtering technology, this system would seek to identify ‘good’ email, and segregate everything else. Many companies have already experienced the frustration of having their legitimate email messages to their clients/customers blocked by overeager filtering technology, and overzealous IT departments.

At the same time, Internet and marketing firms are lobbying for the adoption of a system for ranking mailers based on reputation. Lawyers and consultants are working to convince businesses to retain them to insure spam compliance, and online publishers have flooded the markets with books on ‘dealing with CAN-SPAM’. So, where does that leave the legitimate marketer? Is it time to abandon email as a marketing and communications tool? The answer is a resounding no.

Email is still one of the most effective, reliable and cost efficient manners to communicate with current customers and prospects. Remember, the legislation was enacted to reduce spam, penalize spammers, and set forth best practices for email marketing. It was not intended to stop legitimate marketers from using email to communicate with their willing audience. Unfortunately, the immediate result of the legislation is that marketers have to work harder and smarter to ensure that their messages are successfully delivered to their intended audience. And, while marketers are working harder, spammers continue to find unorthodox ways of getting their messages delivered.

It’s time to take the bull by the horns. Legitimate marketers can remain ‘spam compliant’ by following common sense rules. Be honest. Don’t try to hide or disguise who you are, or the purpose, subject or content of your message. Take people off your list immediately when they opt out. Even one message arriving after an opt-out may be enough for you to be reported as a spammer. Address complaints promptly and professionally. Remember, anyone even suspecting you of spamming them, won’t hesitate to report you to the ISP, and most ISPs have made spam reporting as simple as clicking a button.

If you are concerned about whether your company has the time or human resources necessary to manage the various aspects of CAN-SPAM compliance, it may be worth considering an outside email service provider. An email service provider’s lifeblood is in maintaining a relationship with the ISPs to insure that their clients’ email messages aren’t filtered, blocked or blacklisted. In addition, a reputable email service provider will routinely monitor their customers’ messages for compliance, provide automatic opt-outs and suppressions, and handle complaints promptly. The costs of using an email service provider should be weighed against the time and resources required by your company’s IT department to address these types of ongoing data management issues.

The email landscape will undoubtedly continue to evolve in the months and years to come based on this newly enacted legislation, and the response of consumers and ISP’s. Legitimate marketers will have to work harder to insure deliverability, high open rates, and less blocking. Gold Lasso is committed to staying ahead of email marketing trends, and will continue to make the necessary changes to our system and procedures to help our clients remain in full compliance with email standards and laws.

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