What you need to know about permissions.
At IdeaSoft we take permissions very seriously. It’s the only thing separating you from the spammers of this world. It doesn’t need to be. First of all, let’s clarify what spam is, and then what kind of permission you will need to use IdeaSoft Email Marketing.
The law is not enough - it's permissions that counts.
While the CAN-SPAM laws are a step in the right direction for classifying and reducing spam, 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 any email you send to someone who hasn’t given you their direct permission to contact them on the topic of the email.
But that’s not enough. Permission is a fuzzy word open to interpretation. Let’s get into some specific scenarios so it’s clear what does and doesn’t constitute permission.
Valid email addresses to use with IdeaSoft Email Marketing.
You can only email subscribers using IdeaSoft Email Marketing if you obtained their permission in any of the following ways:
They opted in via your web site
This could either be through a newsletter subscribe form or by ticking a checkbox on another form. This checkbox cannot be checked by default and it must clearly explain that checking it will mean you will be contacting them by email.
They completed an offline form and indicated they wanted to be emailed
If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that they would be contacted by email AND they ticked a box indicating they would like to be contacted.
They gave you their business card
If someone gives you their business card and you have explicitly asked for permission to add them to your list, you can contact them. If they dropped their business card in a fishbowl at a trade show, there must be a sign indicating they will be contacted by email about the specific topic.
They purchased something off you in the last 2 years
By making a purchase from you they have provided their permission implicitly. Feel free to email them but at the same time, we think it’s always better to ask anyway, so why not include an opt-in checkbox as part of the checkout process.
Invalid email address you shouldn't use with IdeaSoft Email Marketing?
Basically, anything outside the examples above doesn’t equal permission in our eyes, but here are some examples to make sure we’re crystal clear.
You obtained the email addresses from a third party
Whether you purchased a list, were provided one by a partner or bought a bankrupt competitor’s customer list, those people never gave YOU permission to email them and they will consider your email spam. No matter the claims of the source of this list, you cannot email them with IdeaSoft Email Marketing.
You scraped or “copy and pasted” the addresses from the Internet
Just because people publish their email address doesn’t mean they want to hear from you.
You haven’t emailed that address for more than 2 years
Permission doesn’t age well. Even if you got their permission legitimately, they won’t remember giving it to you. If you haven’t sent something to that address in the last 2 years, you can’t start now.
Basically, you can only ever email anyone who has clearly given you permission to email them specifically about the subject you’re contacting them about.
What content MUST I include in my email?
Every email you send using IdeaSoft Email Marketing 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.
- The name and physical address of the sender.
How we will know if you don’t have permission
IdeaSoft Email Marketing has numerous layers of approval and monitoring to ensure you comply with our anti-spam policy. Here’s a few of them:
- Until your account has been approved by a member of our team, every email you send will need to be approved.
- Our software is directly integrated into the spam reporting systems for some of the biggest ISP’s like Gmail, Hotmail and AOL. If you don’t have permission and someone marks your campaign as spam, we will know about it the moment that button is pressed. If you receive a complaint rate greater than 0.25% of all recipients (that’s 25 complaints for every 10,000 recipients) your account will be terminated. This is a generous figure that takes into account false spam reports.
- Our team verifies all large 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 IdeaSoft Email Marketing immediately.
In the end, it’s really common sense. Take off your marketing hat and put yourself in your recipient’s shoes. If they don’t recognize who you are or aren’t interested in what you’re sending, they’ll think you’re a spammer. It’s that simple.
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 us.