The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


The first business day under CASL

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Welcome to life under CASL!

Has it changed much for you? I'm betting not.

CASL went into effect July 1st and on that very same day, I received several CEM from local businesses that were not compliant.

Perhaps it's just me, but I have heard about CASL so much in the previous two months that I am a tad surprised there are still those who haven't. It's a reminder that just because a new law is introduced doesn't mean there will be those who don't know a thing about it. So, what to do?

From my perspective, it means you'll still be seeing the occasional notice about CASL in my blog, social media feeds and newsletter. I spend much of my time educating people about what can be done online and how to do it. In that regard, nothing has changed.

Here is what you need to know now that CASL is in place.

  1. If you have not obtained express consent for your lists, life is not over. You can still send under "implied consent" for the next couple of years although you probably want to obtain express consent from your subscribers ASAP.

  2. All CEM must identify the sender, contain a physical address that is valid for 60 days after the CEM is sent as well as an unsubscribe mechanism. This applies to email messages and all other forms of CEM including texts and social media.

  3. Unsubscribe requests must be processed within 10 days.

  4. From my perspective, messages you send should also have a mechanism for your recipient to indicate they provide express consent to continue to receive your messages. This can be as simple as asking the recipient to respond with "Agree" or "Yes" in the subject line of an email. I checked that method with a lawyer knowledgeable about CASL and she said this would be sufficient.

The sky hasn't fallen, but we're now in new legal territory when it comes to sending CEM. While there's a transition period, it will be over before you know it. Work on gaining express consent now and spare the future headache.

What does a lawyer have to say about @ss backwards CASL requests?

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, June 26, 2014

CASL Anti Spam LawCASL compliance season is upon us!

There has been a flurry of email activity as companies rush to be compliant with the new Canadian Anti Spam Law (CASL) which comes into effect July 1, 2014.

Some companies are apparently in such a rush that they're not paying attention to what the law says about getting express consent.

I've received a number of emails telling me that if I don't unsubscribe right then and there that I will be deemed to have provided express consent to receive more mailings.

This is backwards and it is specifically what CASL is designed to avoid.

COMPANIES CAN NOT USE NEGATIVE OPT-IN METHODS TO GAIN OR RETAIN SUBSCRIBERS TO THEIR LISTS.

I had a chat with a lawyer at Mills & Mills, LLP in Toronto who has fielded a flood of inquiries prompted by the introduction of CASL. She confirmed that companies who use negative opt-in methods are not getting express consent.

For those who are doing it "right" (which means by requiring your potential recipients to take a positive action like a click to confirm they are opting-in), my congratulations to you.

To the rest of you, please read this or our very own CASL presentation.

CASL - Implied Consent

Mark Kawabe - Friday, June 13, 2014

CASL Anti Spam LawThe sky may or may not fall on July 1, 2014 when CASL (the Canadian Anti Spam Law) comes into effect. Personally, I don't think there will be many changes with respect to B2B communications right away. Here's why.

CASL requires businesses to demonstrate they have either express or implied consent when sending Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM). Few businesses have obtained express consent to send CEM to everyone on their list, so it's likely your business will be sending to your list based on implied consent.

I'd like to talk about the notion of implied consent because I think there's a major exception in CASL that will allow most businesses the ability to continue operating "as is" without running afoul of the law. This major exception revolves around whether a recipient has "conspicuously published" or "disclosed" his or her electronic address. For the purpose of this discussion, we'll use an email address as the example electronic address.

What does it mean to have "conspicuously published" an email address? I think there are several possibilities.

  1. It's visible on your company website
  2. It's visible on social media sites
  3. It's visible on newspaper ads, billboards, flyers, brochures or vehicle advertising

If you have "disclosed" your email address, you may have done one of the following things:

  1. Printed it on your business cards,
  2. Included it as part of an email signature,
  3. Told someone your address verbally or over the phone.

If you have "conspicuously published" or "disclosed" your email address, you may be giving implied consent that you wish to be contacted for business purposes via email. If you did not indicate in any way that you do not wish to receive unsolicited CEMs via your email address, this may be enough to establish you are providing implied consent to received CEMs.

This has been referred to as the "business card exception". At networking events, you will often give people your business card which may have your email address on it. Unless you tell the recipient of your card not to send you CEMs, they can assume you have provided implied consent to receive messages from them. When that person's email newsletter hits your inbox the next day, you don't really have grounds for complaining. Thankfully, under CASL, you can simply unsubscribe from a mailing and the sender has to remove you from their list within 10 days.

Of course, the CEM you were sent had to have been relevant to your business, role, functions or duties in a business or official capacity and met the contact information requirements for it not to have been considered spam.

Many people I've spoken to are working on becoming compliant with CASL. I encourage everyone to do so. You will still be able to send relevant CEMs after July 1, 2014. You have three years to become fully compliant, so while you're sending messages based on implied consent, do your best to gain express consent from the recipients of your messages so you'll be in a good place come July 1, 2017.