If you use e-mail as a marketing tool, it’s vital that you understand how to comply with the federal Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003. The CAN-SPAM Act created a single national standard designed to control the growing problem of deceptive or fraudulent commercial e-mails. It went into effect on Jan. 1, 2004. Take this quiz to reduce your risk of liability and avoid steep fines.
What types of e-mails are covered by CAN-SPAM?
Unsolicited commercial e-mails.
All commercial e-mails.
E-mails containing advertisements sent to more than 5,000 e-mail addresses.
All e-mails, regardless of content.
All of the following practices are required by CAN-SPAM to be included in all commercial e-mails EXCEPT:
An opt-out mechanism.
A physical postal address.
An e-mail address for recipients to sign up for other products and services from the sender.
A notice that the e-mail message is an advertisement or solicitation.
A brokerage sends its clients many different types of e-mails, such as a monthly newsletter, property information, and product offerings from affiliated businesses. Which of the choices below is a valid opt-out mechanism that the brokerage can provide to clients in these e-mails?
Opt-out choices that include a choice between receiving e-mails containing noncommercial information like a newsletter and a single opt-out mechanism that covers all exclusively commercial e-mails.
An opt-out mechanism that only applies to e-mails from affiliated businesses.
An opt-out mechanism that only applies to the type of e-mail being sent, but does not cover other types of e-mails from sender.
A menu of opt-out choices, allowing clients to choose the types of e-mails they would like to continue receiving from the brokerage.
Are commercial e-mails.
Are exempt from CAN-SPAM requirements.
Are not commercial e-mails.
Need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the e-mails are commercial e-mails.
A broker sends e-mails to buyer-clients (with whom he has a written representation agreement) when a new listing enters the MLS that meets the buyers’ search criteria. These e-mails do not need to comply with CAN-SPAM. Why?
The broker has an “established business relationship” with the buyer clients.
These messages are not commercial e-mails subject to CAN-SPAM.
The clients have consented to receive the e-mails.
These are “transactional or relationship messages.”
A salesperson sends current and past clients a monthly electronic newsletter. In the newsletter, the salesperson promotes her real estate services and requests both referral business as well as new business from the clients. A newsletter like this is:
Subject to CAN-SPAM because it contains commercial content.
Not subject to CAN-SPAM because it has no commercial content.
Evaluated on a message-by-message basis to determine whether the primary purpose of the newsletter is commercial.
Not a commercial e-mail and so is outside the parameters of CAN-SPAM.
In order to market properties, a brokerage is planning to gather e-mail addresses from the MLS Web site and the homeowner associations’ Web sites that the brokerage helps to manage. Is this lawful?
Maybe. The brokerage would need to review the privacy policies of the Web sites from which the information is gathered.
Yes. CAN-SPAM does not prohibit the gathering of e-mail addresses, except by an automated system.
No. CAN-SPAM prohibits this type of practice.
It depends on the types of e-mails the brokerage sends to the e-mail addresses.
A salesperson gathers consent from all of her clients so she can send e-mails to them. By gaining consent, which of the following requirements do not have to be met:
The e-mail must contain an opt-out mechanism.
The e-mail must be clearly and conspicuously labeled as an advertisement or solicitation.
The e-mail must contain a valid physical postal address.
The e-mail must contain an opt-out mechanism that is operational for at least 30 days following the sending of the e-mail.
Commercial e-mails sent to a wireless device, such as a cell phone or PDA:
Are not covered by CAN-SPAM, since they are not sent to a computer.
Are covered by CAN-SPAM like all other e-mails.
Are subject to special CAN-SPAM rules.
Are prohibited by CAN-SPAM.
State e-mail laws are:
Always pre-empted by CAN-SPAM.
Pre-empted by CAN-SPAM, except for state laws or portions of state laws that prohibit falsity or deception in an e-mail or attachment.
Pre-empted by CAN-SPAM, except for requirements about subject line labeling of e-mails.
Not pre-empted by CAN-SPAM and are still in effect.
I receive a lot of unsolicited junk e-mails. How do I avoid receiving these e-mails?
Place your e-mail address on the federal Do-Not-E-mail Registry.
Unplug computer and hope the e-mails go away.
Use the opt-out mechanism found in e-mails to request to not receive any additional e-mails from the sender.
File lawsuits against senders of commercial e-mails.