How to contact individuals online without being considered SPAM
Individuals promoting their business or company online are now subject to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”). CASL deals with how businesses can contact people and what must be included in the content of online messages. One important question relating to this legislation is “how can I contact people online in order to promote my business and attempt to gain clientele without breaching this legislation.” This blog post attempts to answer that question.
Firstly, CASL only applies to commercial messages. Messages you send are commercial where the purpose of the messages are to encourage participation in a website. The three requirements that CASL has when sending commercial messages are:
- Having consent from the recipient in order to message them further;
- Identifying yourself in the message and including contact information of the sender; and
- Having an unsubscribe function so the recipient can choose when to opt out of your messages.
Please note that liability applies to anyone who sends, causes, or permits a commercial message to be sent, and whether or not the sender is in Canada. If the message is accessed from a computer in Canada then CASL applies and the sender can be liable.
- Having consent from the recipient in order to message them further
The first time you contact a potential customer you must ask their consent in order to contact them again. Exceptions to this requirement are where you have a personal or family relationship with the recipient or you are responding to an inquiry about your site. If the message falls within one of these categories, you do not need the above three requirements in order to communicate with them. This applies whether or not the message is commercial in nature.
Other exceptions exist where the message is sent solely for the purposes of providing a quote to a potential customer or contacting someone with whom you have a prior business relationship with. In either of these scenarios, when responding it is recommended that you ask their consent in your response. An example would be “click here if you would like to receive further correspondence about upcoming and new developments from our site.” Otherwise, without consent, you cannot contact them with a commercial message.
If you are contacting an unknown person for the first time then consent is required and must be obtained before contacting the same unknown person a second time. Once you obtain consent you do not need to ask for consent again. An example of obtaining consent would be something like:
We are requesting your consent to provide you messages from our site. These messages will allow us, along with other members, to contact you about our services. By clicking below you are agreeing that you consent to receive these messages and therefore participating in our site.
If you would like to contact the manager of our site, or having any questions, please email us at...
After you have received consent any further correspondence in a message to the same address will require the two elements below:
- Identifying yourself in the message and include contact information of the sender
When sending a message you must identify yourself. This can be done by including the logo of Jobsdone.ca at the bottom of your messages. Unless the message is sent to a recipient with whom the sender has a personal or family relationship with.
- Having an unsubscribe function so the recipient can choose when to opt out of your messages
Every message sent for a commercial purpose must have an unsubscribe function at the bottom of the message. Unless the message is sent to a recipient with whom the sender has a personal or family relationship with.
In conclusion, you can certainly contact people on the web and elicit customers to join your website. The recipients cannot be added to a send list, email list, or messaged the second time until you have received their consent in contacting them. Velletta & Company can certainly help you in establishing an adequate way of doing this, or alternatively, moving forward in establishing your website. Contact one of our associates today to get started-we would be happy to help.
Additional sources: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-1.6/page-1.html
About the Author, Jade Fraser
Before pursuing her education in law, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia obtaining a Bachelor of Science. After living in places such as Saudi Arabia and France, Jade gained a unique set of experiences which contributed to her decision to travel abroad in pursuit of her legal education. Jade is excited to be commencing her articles with Velletta & Company in August of 2017. Although her interests reside in family law, Velletta & Company offers a broad range of experience in many different areas of law which Jade will actively engage.