The inclusion of a physical address in email footers is a mandatory step, and for good reason. The CAN-SPAM Act, a U.S. law enacted in 2003, is designed to curb the proliferation of spam emails and protect recipients from unsolicited and potentially harmful content. One of the Act's requirements is the inclusion of a valid physical postal address in every marketing email.
The CAN-SPAM Law and the Physical Address Requirement
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlines this requirement as a measure to inform recipients about the sender's location. This can be either a current street address, a registered post office box, or a private mailbox registered with a commercial mail receiving agency. The inclusion of this information serves to build transparency and trust among email recipients.
However, for many individuals and businesses, the idea of disclosing their physical address raises concerns about privacy and security. Fortunately, there are ways to meet this requirement without revealing where you live.
Fake address is OK?
Some may consider using a fake address to circumvent the requirement, but this is strongly advised against. Violating the CAN-SPAM Act in this manner can result in substantial fines, up to $46,517 per violation per subscriber. Email service providers, dedicated to providing spam-free services, are vigilant about enforcing compliance and may ban users found in violation of the Act.
Business Address: Utilize a business address, which could be a post office box, a physical mailing address through a business service, or a virtual mailbox.
Virtual Mailbox Services: Virtual mailboxes are particularly useful for those on the move or living abroad. These services often include mail scanning and forwarding, accepting packages, and providing a more professional image.
Always exercise caution and seek permission when considering alternative addresses. Postal regulations and necessary paperwork may apply, such as the USPS Form 1583, "Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent."
Global Applicability of CAN-SPAM
While CAN-SPAM is a U.S. law, it applies globally to businesses and individuals using email service providers based in the United States. Compliance with the Act is enforced by email service providers, making it a universal standard for email marketing best practices.
Benefits Beyond Compliance: Trust and Deliverability
Beyond legal compliance, including a physical address in emails can positively impact your email marketing efforts. Some email clients, including Yahoo, Gmail, and Outlook, may use the presence of an address to determine the legitimacy of an email. Additionally, building trust with subscribers is crucial for email engagement and reducing unsubscribes.
In conclusion, while the inclusion of a physical address may seem like a regulatory hurdle, it is a crucial step in building trust with your audience. Rather than attempting to bypass the requirement, consider alternative addresses that safeguard your privacy while still meeting legal obligations.