We have long advocated the use of opt in only databases used for email marketing. You simply can get far too much negative feedback, poor publicity and can even get blacklisted if your email marketing becomes SPAM.
Regardless of how you built your database, you simply must always include the ability to unsubscribe or instructions on how to unsubscribe. This is simply good business practice, and in some countries, a legal requirement. In Australia it has been law for some years now to include the ability to unsubscribe from any bulk marketing email and it is not starting to be rigorously enforced.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued a formal warning to an Australian Real Estate Agency for breaching the Spam Act. Danielou Pty Ltd, trading as Elders Real Estate Wollongong, breached the Spam Act by sending emails without an unsubscribe facility.
The full press release is provided below:
“Real estate agency breaches the Spam Act
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued a formal warning to Danielou Pty Ltd, trading as Elders Real Estate Wollongong, following an investigation that found the real estate agency breached the Spam Act 2003 by sending commercial electronic messages without an unsubscribe facility.
‘This is the first enforcement measure taken against a real estate agent since an ACMA awareness campaign about unsolicited communications targeted at the real estate sector,’ said Chris Cheah, acting Chairman of the ACMA.
The campaign was held in response to the ACMA’s concerns about widespread non-compliance with marketing obligations by members of the real estate sector. The ACMA wrote to more than forty head offices of leading real estate franchisors and companies in 2009, informing them of key obligations and providing links to online training and resources to increase awareness of legal obligations and of the consequences of non-compliance.
‘It is disappointing that some real estate agents do not appear to have taken the opportunity to understand the requirements for complying with the Spam Act,’ Mr Cheah said.
The ACMA has a tiered approach to compliance and enforcement. While education is the first step, stronger enforcement action will be used if compliance is not achieved.
‘Real estate agents should consider themselves to be on notice,’ Mr Cheah added. ‘Members of the industry need to understand that, even when they are dealing with potential buyers on a one-to-one basis, these interactions are commercial and they need to comply with spam and telemarketing laws.’
Commercial electronic messages must be sent with the recipient’s consent and include a statement that the recipient can use an electronic address, provided in the message, to send an unsubscribe request. During the course of this investigation, the ACMA identified messages sent by Elders Real Estate Wollongong that did not contain unsubscribe wording to this effect.
The ACMA has taken a wide range of enforcement action against non-compliant ‘spammers’ in the last twelve months, including recent action in the Federal Court which resulted in significant penalties being imposed on both individuals and companies.
Under the Spam Act, potential penalties of up to $1.1 million per day may be imposed by the Federal Court for repeat offenders”
The simple rule is always include the following text or something to this effect:
Important Information: If you are not the intended recipient, please ignore this email. This communication has been prepared by . To unsubscribe from this email please reply with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line.