Affirmative Consent

Affirmative Consent

This term  refers to user permission. In the current email marketing environment, affirmative consent is both a best practice and required by law. Today, email recipients must be clearly notified of the collection and use of their email address. They must also provide consent prior to the collection and use.

The CAN-SPAM Act, which took effect in 2003, applies to commercial emails of which the purpose is primarily advertising or promoting a commercial product. This act worked to define and eliminate spam, which was an internet marketing epidemic. It was also written to limit the possibility of unwanted or deceptive email messages from most bulk email marketers. Through this act, recipients must give affirmative consent before receiving the first commercial email. Recipients must also be able to unsubscribe or “opt-out” of receiving future messages at any time.

The CAN-SPAM Act also defines how recipients can provide affirmative consent. They may do this by using an opt-in or double opt-in subscription system from the sender. Recipients may also respond to clear requests from the sender; these requests must make it very clear that the recipient is signing up or requesting to receive commercial emails from the sender. It is in violation of the act to use any email addresses that are harvested from other sources or randomly generated to create mass email subscription lists.

Email newsletter subscribers are often captured or culled when a visitors navigate to a marketer’s web page. While on this web-page, users are called upon to sign up, or opt-in to receive regular communications. Often, this comes in the form of a link that says “Enter your email address to receive marketing communications from us!” or another similar call to action. Only after the user has provided their information and agreed to the terms – often as simple as receiving messages – can their email address be added to the mailing list. Many email marketers request users to double-opt-in for their interactions, this helps to ensure that messages are not marked as spam by recipients.

Not only is affirmative consent required, it also ensures that email marketing messages and email newsletters reach an engaged audience. Mailing lists are strongest when they are comprised of interested recipients who will act on the information they are sent. Users who have opted into lists are more likely to open emails and respond to their calls to action.

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