This small selection of CAN-SPAM law suits shows that noone is immune to prosecution should the spotlight fall on them. If big brands with their large marketing departments can fall afoul of the law, what hope is there for sales teams who have none of the CAN-SPAM ready tools their marketing counterparts have?
Also, don’t be lulled into thinking only the FTC can prosecute, and that they only go after big brands and intentional offenders. This is not the case at all. Actually any business, group or individual can take legal action against spammers and they do. For example this lawyer and anti-SPAM activist, one of hundreds who specialize in SPAM litigation, claims more than 50 cases awarded judgement against spammers, ranging from a few hundreds dollars to hundreds of thousands in settlements.
Microsoft ($7M Judgement), AOL, Earthlink ($16M judgement) and many others including Facebook ($873M judgement) and MySpace ($235M judgement), have also filed separate law suits of their own against dozens of different spammers, with some success. In these cases, the SPAM campaign targeted their customers (e.g. Hotmail users or Facebook users) and/or was launched using compromised email or social media accounts.
10 CAN-SPAM Law Suits to Learn From
CAN-SPAM Violation: Colby Fox et al. fined $500,000
CAN-SPAM Violation: Yair Shalev & Kobeni Inc. fined $350,000
The FTC charged that they sent deceptive emails in advance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) roll-out, falsely claiming that consumers would be violating the law if they did not immediately click a link to enroll in health insurance. They also alleged that the emails failed to provide a mechanism to opt-out or a valid physical postal address. You can read more here.
Email Marketing Takeaway: Sending emails with deliberately misleading information is illegal.
CAN-SPAM Violation: ValueClick. fined $2.9 million
CAN-SPAM Violation: Kodak Imaging Network fined $32,000
CAN-SPAM Violation: YesMail Inc. fined $50,717
Email Marketing Takeaway: Using reply-to is not a foolproof. An opt-out link is best.
CAN-SPAM Violation: Jumpstart Technologies fined $900,000
CAN-SPAM Violation: Optin Global Inc. fined $475,000
CAN-SPAM Violation: Trancos, Inc. fined $87,000
Email Marketing Takeaway: Falsifying sender or header information is illegal.