Why You Need To Know About the CAN-SPAM Act and CALOPPA

You might have heard of the CAN-SPAM Act and CALOPPA - ok, you probably haven’t and IF you have, you may have no idea what the heck they are or why you need to know about them. 

These laws are all about your email and your website. Here’s what you need to know about each one: 


The CAN-SPAM Act is a U.S. federal law has been around since 2003 and establishes requirements for email messages that you send out to your list - yes, this has everything to do with your email list!

The law covers basically any email whose purpose is to advertise or promote a product or service - so whether that is your new coaching package, an online course, ebook, etc. - your emails must comply.

And if not? EACH EMAIL could be subject to a fine of up to $16K by the FTC - that is the Federal Trade Commission and their whole purpose is to protect consumers.

So wow, your email list of 600 could end up with over $9 million in fines...

Here’s what you need to know about it to comply: 

  • Don’t use a deceptive subject line (meaning, if you are email is about marketing your Facebook Ads, your title shouldn’t be: Free $100 Gift Certificate)
  • Don’t use false info - your ‘from, to, reply-to’ etc. must actually be your business
  • If you are advertising something, you must disclose somehow that the message is an ad (the law is pretty lax on how you do this and actually, when people OPT-IN they are acknowledging this so you get a pass on it)
  • Tell your people where YOU are located - it has to be a physical address and this is why MailChimp, etc. all ask for this info
  • MUST have an unsubscribe option
  • You must HONOR any unsubscribes and get them off your list within 10 days
  • If you hire someone else to do your emailing - you have to make sure they are complying (meaning, it’s your responsibility).

(There are also some *ahem* adult content rules as well and it was for that reason and too much actual SPAM that the law was passed - its full name is: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act)

Now, chances are some of your emails (those Hey! Happy Friday, here’s what’s up in my life) will not need to comply with all of the above, but better safe than sorry right?

Now, what about CALOPPA?

CALOPPA is the California Online Privacy Protection Act.  It's the law that says if your website shows up on someone’s computer in California and you are collecting any type of personal information (name, email, etc.), you are legally required to have a Privacy Policy on it. 

Which...yeah, all of our websites show up in Cali - so...yeah all of our websites are required to have a Privacy Policy.

CALOPPA also has regulations on collecting information about kids (13 and under).  California can fine you $2,500 EACH TIME someone visits your site and there is no Privacy Policy (ask Delta Airlines, cause Cali brought a claim against them for $37 million). 

A Privacy Policy is all about protecting the visitors to your site and informs them what you plan to do what that oh-so-important email they are going to give you! 

Oh and if you’re in Europe, you have rules on this too under the Data Protection Directive and the ePrivacy directive.  So does Canada, Australia, MOST countries do. 

If you want to learn more about what a Privacy Policy is, you can check out this blog post OR grab your template Privacy Policy here.

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