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Australian Email Spam Laws
Anti Spam

All of your questions answered  -  How to be a legitimate Email marketer  -  WHY SPAM IS EVIL  -  the law on SPAM



Email is an incredibly efficient way to communicate. Email Marketing is one of the best ways ever to broadcast your message to customers. Email has provided a revolutionary way for business to communicate, and it has really helped connect and globalise the entire world.




What is the PROBLEM?

The low cost, efficiency of sending Email messages has made it subject to misuse and abuse by marketers. The speed of message delivery is almost instant. Email is so cheap that it is almost free. and so easy to manage and send an Email message.


"Many business people are finding out that they can now advertise in ways that they never could have afforded in the past. The cost of sending mass Email is extremely low, and the response rate is high and quick."


It is estimated that Spam counts for as much as 45% of all Email traffic. That means that almost half the messages that are clogging up the Internet could be avoided. And you can bet that your ISP passes the expense of dealing with this extra traffic onto you through higher fees.


Vint Cerf who is one of the founding fathers of the Internet, said:

“Spamming is the scourge of electronic mail on the Internet.”

“Spammer’s are in effect, taking resources away from users and service suppliers without compensation and without authorisation.”


The abuse of Email (spam) has come from organisations and individuals who stand to benefit commercially from advertising to us, whether we like it or not. So we need to protect our valuable asset (our Inbox) from commercial exploitation. This is why the Australian Government has put legislation in place, for our protection.

The Australian Spam Act

The Australian Spam Act came into affect on the 10th April 2004.

So what do the Australian Spam Laws mean to you (a website marketing professional)? If you want to send an Email message that is of a commercial/business nature, then you have to have the consent of the recipient. That’s right; it is illegal to send a commercial Email message to someone who has not given you permission to do so. It is also illegal to send fraudulent messages that deceive the recipient.


The FINES are Heavy

The maximum penalty is $1.1million for companies, and $220,000 for individuals. Obviously these are the maximum fines and would be reserved for the most serious cases of Spam abuse.

It doesn’t matter if you send one commercial Email message or a massive bulk Email Marketing campaign, the spam act applies. So be careful and market your business or website responsibly.


What are the RULES?

  • Only send commercial Email messages to those people who have given you their explicit approval to do so.
  • Have a functional and easy way for receivers of your Email messages to Opt-Out (unsubscribe) from your mailing list.
  • Make sure that your Email message clearly and accurately shows who you (the sender of the Email message) are.

As long as you comply with these simple rules your business can still enjoy all of the benefits and efficiencies of Email Marketing.

These laws have reduced the amount of SPAM being generated from within Australia, but do nothing to control SPAM from over seas.  This is an issue that needs to be addressed through law, Internet industry focus, education, international co-operation and better anti spam technology.

The good news is that SPAM is slowing.  We are winning the war.  This is allowing legitimate Email Marketing to thrive again.


When Can Consent be IMPLIED?

The legislation does state that consent to send a commercial Email message to someone can be implied or presumed. This is important because if you have an ongoing business relationship, then you would expect to be able to Email your associate even though permission may have never been expressed formally or directly. So you will legally be able to communicate with them via Email.


WINNING TIPS for Managing an Email List

1. Only use Email addresses that have given you permission to Email them.

2. Do not buy or rent Email lists and do not harvest Email addresses from the Internet.

3. Remove Email addresses from your data base if they bounce multiple times.

4. Make sure that your Email content is highly valuable or your subscribers will Opt-Out.

As long as you comply with the Law of the land, your business can still use and enjoy the benefits of Email marketing. Email Marketing is one of the most effective tools to boost traffic, increase sales and build strong customer relationships through an ongoing dialogue.

For further information please contact:

Privacy Commissioner
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 1042

Privacy Hotline: 1300 363 992
Telephone: (02) 9284 9800
Fax: (02) 9284 9666





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