Skip to main content

Say “spam” and most business executives think of annoying messages that litter their IN box.  But the CAN-SPAM Act and the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Rule cover a much broader range of commercial email.  Yes, that includes messages offering to split $50 million languishing in the foreign bank account of a deposed prince.  But the Rule also applies to a wide variety of communications with customers or potential customers — for example, an email notifying them about a product you’re featuring or an upcoming sale.

Looking for the latest on CAN-SPAM?  Here’s the good news.  Compliance isn’t complicated and the FTC just released a how-to video to make the job that much easier.  The video features a seven-point checklist to refer to when your company is sending out messages covered by the Rule.

How can you use this new resource?

1)  Build the video into in-house training.  Bringing on new employees to work on marketing communications?  There’s no need to start from scratch when it comes to CAN-SPAM.  The video explains the basics in a friendly, to-the-point way, but also warns of the costly consequences — $16,000 per violation — of a CAN-SPAM glitch.

2)  Show the video to your staff.  CAN-SPAM has been around for awhile, but even experienced pros could benefit from a refresher.  Brew a pot of coffee, buy a bag of bagels, and play the video at your next staff meeting.

3)  Share it with contractors and clients.  CAN-SPAM establishes 360º liability.  Even if you hire someone to handle your email marketing, it’s up to you to make sure your messages comply with the law.  If you don’t, your business and the company you hire could face legal action.  Minimize the risk of an email oops by sharing the video with contractors.

4)  Talk it up.  Speaking at an upcoming conference, writing something for a client newsletter, or looking to keep your social networking site topical?  Your audience will appreciate practical tips on CAN-SPAM compliance.  FTC resources aren’t copyrighted, so link, upload, and post away.

However you decide to use the new video, maximize its impact by also sharing the brochure, The CAN-SPAM Act:  A Compliance Guide for Business.  Send the link to your staff or print out copies and hand them out as take-aways at your next industry event.


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

More from the Business Blog

Get Business Blog updates