How will you deal with CASL?

21 replies
Has anybody here heard of CASL? It's called the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, and essentially it forbids individuals and businesses to send CEMs (Commercial Electronic Messages- such as emails, texts, etc) to Canadians without their consent.

In order to send a CEM to a person- you need 3 things:

1) Their consent
2) Identification of who you are
3) An 'unsubscribe' mechanism

Canada’s new Anti-Spam legislation (CASL) came into effect July 1, 2014. It presents marketers with a significant problem: violations by an individual can bring up to $1M in penalties, and by a company? Up to $10M.

In other words, CASL requires opt-in. Unlike the U.S. CAN-SPAM law and many other laws in many other countries, CASL actually forbids most spam. And here's another catch: you can't send an email requesting consent, because that email will be considered spam.

So, Internet marketers- how will you go about dealing with this? Does this new legislation hamper your strategies? How will you workaround it?
#casl #deal
  • Profile picture of the author MarketingBees
    It's not really anything major and wouldn't be surprised if it were rolled out further afield.

    CAN-SPAM, CASL and whatever else ends up coming will only force online marketers to adjust a few bits and pieces. Unfortunately spammers will spam regardless. They've ignored CAN-SPAM, will ignore CASL and will ignore all future changes.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShoppingSignals
    My plan is not to worry about it. Seriously. Until I see a reason to change course, it's business as usual for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author GoldPro
    A lot of Internet marketers and small businesses use email to reach new potential customers. CASL would eliminate that go-to market channel. How can you say that this isn't a big deal? If I wanted to email a potential prospect about the service I offer- I wouldn't be able to do this anymore.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by GoldPro View Post

    . . . how will you go about dealing with this? Does this new legislation hamper your strategies? How will you workaround it?

    GoldPro,

    You are assuming that we (Internet marketers) have to change something or find a "workaround" in order to comply.

    If a marketer is already doing his emailing the right way based on permission first strategies, I don't see that anything needs to change in order to be legal in Canada or anywhere else.

    Targeted prospects see your ads and offers, subscribe (giving permission) or purchase because they want what you offer, and then are treated kindly and respectfully . . . always with the option to opt out at any time.

    It's those who abuse the email privilege that may need to worry.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author GoldPro
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      GoldPro,

      You are assuming that we (Internet marketers) have to change something or find a "workaround" in order to comply.

      If a marketer is already doing his emailing the right way based on permission first strategies, I don't see that anything needs to change in order to be legal in Canada or anywhere else.

      Targeted prospects see your ads and offers, subscribe (giving permission) or purchase because they want what you offer, and then are treated kindly and respectfully . . . always with the option to opt out at any time.

      It's those who abuse the email privilege that may need to worry.

      Steve
      And what about direct-email marketing or cold-email marketing? It's like cold-calling, but for email.

      People have been cold-calling for decades and it's a working strategy. Email is a cheaper and less time-consuming form of cold-calling. If you run a business and you have the email address of a person who might be interested in what you have to offer- you're now unable to notify them about it. Thus, you miss out on potential revenues.
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      • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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        • Profile picture of the author Steve B
          Study this if you are feeling insecure.

          Here's the law.

          Here's the FAQ and guidelines.

          Still confused? Seek professional/legal advise on how your business is impacted.

          Steve
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

            Study this if you are feeling insecure.

            Here's the law.

            Here's the FAQ and guidelines.

            Still confused? Seek professional/legal advise on how your business is impacted.

            Steve
            This bit caught my attention...

            Someone gives me a business card: Is that clear consent to add them to my distribution list?

            You may have their implied consent to send them CEMs, as long as:

            the message relates to the recipient's role, functions or duties in an official or business capacity; and
            the recipient has not made a statement when handing you the business card that they do not wish to receive promotional or marketing messages (CEMs) at that address.
            It is important to remember that the onus is on the sender to prove they received consent.

            Recall that consent under CASL is also implied if you have an existing business relationship, existing non-business relationship with the person.

            Compliance will be examined on a case-by-case basis in light of the specific circumstances of a given situation.
            I wonder if they would interpret publishing a contact form or email address on a commercial website as the equivalent of handing out business cards?

            Of course, the tricky bit is "the onus is on the sender to prove they received consent."

            My guess is that case law will be established fairly quickly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Entrecon
    Who wants to e-mail Canadians anyway?

    Seriously though, I agree with the above. Unless you are just randomly e-mailing people through e-mail addresses that have been scraped from somewhere, you shouldn't have an issue. I am not seeing much here different than what is already in place from CAN-SPAM.
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  • Profile picture of the author MNord
    Originally Posted by GoldPro View Post

    And here's another catch: you can't send an email requesting consent, because that email will be considered spam.
    I don't think that's right. I've gotten emails from a number of Canadian law firms asking for my consent to receive their emails. My guess is that if anyone understands how to deal with it, it would be law firms.

    Basically, they've sent emails briefly explaining CASL and asking me to opt in. So I'd think all you need to do is email your list regarding CASL with a new opt-in form indicating consent.
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  • Profile picture of the author Roy Carter
    People will be asking themselves, "Is this the end of single opt-in then?"

    Shouldn't be, should it?

    I mean, if someone lands on your squeeze page and leaves their details, they have opted in to get more info on whatever you have to offer. They have therefore consented to receive it, have they not, (whether or not a confirmation email is sent)?
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    • Profile picture of the author mbacak
      Originally Posted by Roy Carter View Post

      People will be asking themselves, "Is this the end of single opt-in then?"

      Shouldn't be, should it?

      I mean, if someone lands on your squeeze page and leaves their details, they have opted in to get more info on whatever you have to offer. They have therefore consented to receive it, have they not, (whether or not a confirmation email is sent)?
      ...or maybe it's time for people to embrace geo redirects :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Roy Carter View Post

      People will be asking themselves, "Is this the end of single opt-in then?"

      Shouldn't be, should it?

      I mean, if someone lands on your squeeze page and leaves their details, they have opted in to get more info on whatever you have to offer. They have therefore consented to receive it, have they not, (whether or not a confirmation email is sent)?
      Makes sense on the face of it. The only trick will be proving that a) that someone is the one that entered the details or even b) that anyone entered details on the squeeze page, as opposed to using one of the many bulk mailers that don't bother themselves with things like permission.

      Add in a hungry lawyer looking for his 1/3 of a judgment or settlement, maybe even dreaming of one of those huge class action payoffs, and sense likely goes out the window.
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  • Profile picture of the author Roy Carter
    Good point Matt.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    People have been cold-calling for decades and it's a working strategy.
    It's the reason for the "do not call" list.

    Email is a cheaper and less time-consuming form of cold-calling.
    You've obviously never been to court. (;
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  • Profile picture of the author jeremygrey245
    I run a lot of paid traffic to my sites and what I've done to make sure I don't get nailed is very simple:

    1) Create an ad that tests well in the US > US opt-in page
    2) Create a 2nd ad that only targets Canada > Canadian opt-in page

    The key: the Canadian opt-in page has a special UNCHECKED box with text next to it saying "check this box if you want to receive future emails from us."

    That way, I'm not losing 10-20k audience by leaving Canada out of the picture but I cover myself.

    Easy to do, folks.

    #timhortonsftw
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim_Carter
    If your using Getresponse or Aweber the only difference is the consent. I created a custom field in Getresponse and put it on my webform unchecked. The value is stored on the subscriber card. I then use single opt in.

    I also took this opportunity to have people opt back in and clean out the dead wood. Cleaned up my list nicely.

    See this form (takes a few seconds to overlay):

    7 Minute Tutorials | Easy Video Lessons In Seven Minutes
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  • Profile picture of the author jamescanz
    Georarget Link To Optin --> Download

    If someone lives in Canada, they go straight to download (no optin)
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  • Profile picture of the author rockstart
    email your canadians and ask for them to confirm..
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  • Profile picture of the author Larbi Rahmani
    And how are you supposed to get their confirmation option if you don't email them?
    I think you didn't get this right, this law forbids spam and nothing else just like the US one.
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    • Profile picture of the author threaldeal007
      If you read the law properly you will see that double optin or confirmed optin DOES NOT give you their consent as states by Canadian law. You need a seperate custom field that records the date and details of the agreement.

      You can also get fined if the person receiving the email thinks that the subject or body is misleading or not an accurate description of what's offered! That leaves a lot open for interpretation and I don't want to be the one made an example of.

      I have redirected all Canadian traffic straight to an offer until I see what happens in the next few months.
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  • Profile picture of the author dgui123451
    It would definitely hamper the strategy and you might have to develop black hat methods.
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