What is CAN-SPAM?

CAN-SPAM stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.” It’s a U.S. law passed in 2003 that establishes the rules for commercial email and commercial messages; it gives recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate the law. For example, CAN-SPAM is the reason businesses are required to have an “unsubscribe” option at the bottom of every email.


For example, let’s say a company sends out promotional emails to its subscribers. To comply with CAN-SPAM, they must include a visible and operable unsubscribe mechanism in every email, provide a valid physical postal address, and clearly identify the email as an advertisement. Failure to comply with CAN-SPAM regulations can result in hefty fines imposed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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