Recently the FTC clarified a number of rules within CAN-SPAM (pdf).

Here is my understanding of these changes (please note this is not legal advice).

There are two major changes to note within these clarifications:

  • Changes to the definition of a “sender.” The new rule enforces the idea of a single designated sender, for messages with multiple advertisers. The designated sender is defined as the entity in the “From” line of the communication, clarifying the need to have multiple opt-outs within each messages. It also clarifies that only that designated sender need to provide an opt-out link, a valid postal address to satisfying the usual requirements within the Act (ex: subject line, headers, etc).
  • Changes to opt-out requirements. The new rule stipulates the amount of complexity and information needed to be supplied by the recipient during an opt-out request. Most importantly, the opt-out process need only require that the recipient provide only their email address to unsubscribe. The opt-out process must not consist of more than a single webpage or an email reply from the recipient.

Minor Clarifications from the FTC include the following;

  • A P.O. box or private mailbox has been confirmed as acceptable under the “valid postal address” requirement.
  • The definition of “person” has been clarified to include the legal definition of “person,” and expanded to include; corporations, groups, partnerships, nonprofits, and associations.