Am I CAN-SPAM compliant?

Learn about the CAN-SPAM act and the tools Dotdigital provides to support you in compliance with it.

Gareth Burroughes avatar
Written by Gareth Burroughes
Updated over a week ago

If you're sending email or campaigns that are pointed towards US inboxes, you're required to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing).

It establishes the US’ first national standards for the sending of commercial email, requiring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce it. Therefore, if you're to be CAN-SPAM compliant, there are certain provisions you need to make and include within your emails.


This is not legal advice

We're not providing legal advice in this article. You must not rely solely on the information given here to ensure you're CAN-SPAM compliant. The responsibility to ensure you're being CAN-SPAM compliant lies with you and your company, so seek further relevant advice if you're unsure in any way.

The CAN-SPAM Act is too long and detailed to summarise comprehensively here, especially without leaving anything out. It's also subject to change - for instance, if US Congress decides to pass another act, or if the FTC change or strengthen any rules.

This is why we’ve provided a generalised five-point overview of its key features below, all of which are essentially best email marketing practices anyway.

If you want to know more about the act as a whole and all of its consequences, please visit the FTC’s Compliance Guide for Business.

  • Only send email to people who've provided their consent to being emailed.

  • Make sure your email has an unsubscribe option on it.
    All of our templates include an unsubscribe link, however.

  • Make sure your physical business/customer service address is included somewhere in the email
    This can be a street address or a PO Box. This enables people to unsubscribe by post if they wish to.

  • Don’t buy or sell email lists. Generally speaking, only use the email list you've generated for yourself. The Dotdigital Terms of Service prohibit the uploading of or sending to purchased email addresses.

  • When people unsubscribe, don’t ever email them again.
    Dotdigital also require this and so your email unsubscribers are processed and suppressed automatically for you.

CAN-SPAM validation within EasyEditor

At Dotdigital, we do our best to guide you towards best email marketing practises wherever possible.

To help specifically with CAN-SPAM compliance, we've added extra validations to our US-based accounts. These accounts have the $SENDERADDRESS$ placeholder included in email campaign templates. If you try to save your campaign without $SENDERADDRESS$ included in the HTML, you see a campaign save error message.

To enter the $SENDERADDRESS$ marker into an email campaign:

  1. In EasyEditor, place your cursor in the location you want to enter the sender address.
    To make sure you can access the toolbar you need, this must be in a block that accepts text.

  2. Select DATA FIELDS from the toolbar.

  3. Select Sender address from the side panel.

    The $SENDERADDRESS$ marker is inserted into the selected text element. When your campaign is sent, this marker is replaced with the customer service address stored in your account settings.

If you try to save an email campaign with the $SENDERADDRESS$ marker in it but you don’t have a customer service address saved, a form opens so that you can enter the customer service address you want to use. The address you enter saves to your account settings.

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