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Canada’s new email law: gone too far or list optimization at its finest?


canada-emailYesterday was a big day for Canada.

Yes, of course, it celebrated Canada Day, but it also saw a new anit-spam email law go into effect, and apparently that put businesses in a tizzy trying to comply:

Under a new antispam law that went into effect on Tuesday, the sender of any commercial electronic message — emails, texts and potentially some social media postings — must first verify that they have the recipient’s consent. The regulator, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, also says the rules apply to senders in the United States or anywhere else who want to communicate virtually with Canadians.

Companies have been using all kinds of bribes incentives to encourage those on its lists to confirm that they wish to remain subscribed. Some are giving away iPads, while others are going to such extremes as to give away a new car. Email addresses of customers, that have done business in the past 2 years, are exempt, but that leaves a lot of unknown email addresses that need verifying.

And the re-opt-in rate is not good–20% being the norm:

Less than a week before the law went into effect, just 147 people of the 1,200 on his list had agreed to stay. While Mr. Hains said that he liked the idea of curbing spam, he also said that “the pendulum has swung too far — they probably didn’t use common sense to put us through this.”

The US went through a similar experience recently with the enactment of the Gmail Inbox Screwup Act of 2013. As with Canada, many businesses woke up to the realization that their massive list of unknown email users should probably not have been added to their marketing campaign to begin with.

The net result for both? Crappy lists were culled and pruned down to those customers that truly wanted to hear from you. I can only imagine that subsequent open and click-through rates went through the roof–once uninterested recipients opted out.

Personally, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. I routinely prune my own email list so that I only target those that have shown any previous interest–no point paying Mailchimp more than I need.

For many Canadian businesses, it took a new law to force them to do the same. ;-)

  • cynthialil

    This is that numbers game again, like acquiring Facebook followers just for the sake of seeing a higher number. Since many people pay based on the number of emails they send out, it only makes sense to send to those who are still interested and not a pool of people who have moved on. If you really want to get a boost from your numbers, enjoy the higher open rate and click through rate that you’ll get from a mailing list that’s free of bad email addys and follks who don’t care.