1 June 2014 | 16 Comments
An alert reader in Canada contacted me this weekend to let me know about some important anti-spam laws going into effect in Canada on July 1 (the reader works for the organization that administers those laws, so he’ll remain anonymous here). These laws apply to any individual or business who sends electronic messages to Canadian residents. So, if you’re a Kickstarter creator, I’m talking to you.
I am not a lawyer, nor am I Canadian, so in addition to reading the key points I mention below, I would highly suggest looking over the anti-spam website and MailChimp’s excellent overview of the new law, from which I will quote here. As the subject line of this entry suggests, this is a big deal. There isn’t a single Kickstarter creator out there who could afford a $10 million fine.
There are a few different ways that Kickstarter creators communicate electronically:
- project updates
- group messages through Kickstarter or email
- individual messages through Kickstarter or email
All of these are covered under the anti-spam law and thus require some form of consent from the recipient. Fortunately, the law grants automatic or implied consent for the following conditions that cover most of a Kickstarter’s communication from backers (these points are from the MailChimp article):
- Sending to a family member or someone with whom you have an established personal relationship.
- Responding to a customer or correspondence from the recipient within the previous six (6) months.
- Providing information about an ongoing use, purchase, or other ongoing relationship.
- Delivering product updates or upgrades.
- The recipient has within the previous 24 months purchased a product or service from you.
That covers the majority of communication you’ll have with Kickstarter backers, especially thanks to those last 2 bullet points.
However, there are two areas you need to keep an eye out for–this is really important. The first is that you can’t autosubscribe backers (specifically, Canadian backers) to your e-newsletter, even if it’s easy for them to opt out. On your backer survey, you must include a question asking backers to opt into your e-newsletter.
The second is that there are new regulations in place for Canadian residents who sign up for your e-newsletter through your website. Here’s how you need to craft your e-newsletter signup for so it fits the new law:
- Offer a clear description of what the person is signing up for (e.g., a monthly e-newsletter)
- Include your name, your mailing address, and your e-mail address. (This one is the weirdest one to me–my mailing address? Come on, Canada.)
- A statement indicating that the person may unsubscribe at any time (and the ability for them to do so on every mass e-mail they receive)
Make sense? Hopefully most creators have already been following these best practices for electronic communication, but if you’re like me, you probably need to update your e-newsletter subscription form.