Siteflex Anti-Spam Policies
What is the Spam Act 2003?
THE ACMA (AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY) PASSED THE SPAM ACT TO CRACKDOWN ON UNSOLICITED ELECTRONIC MARKETING AND SPAM.
Many businesses will be aware of the SPAM ACT 2003 in regard to email but the law applies to all electronic messages including SMS in exactly the same way.
The consequences and fines that have been issued by the ACMA during Federal Court proceedings are significant. They have broad powers.
SPAM is generally associated with sending thousands of messages however under the SPAM act just one message sent without consent can be considered SPAM.
The SPAM ACT 2003 covers email, SMS, MMS and instant messaging.
What are the compliance rules?
THERE ARE THREE PRIMARY RULES THAT EVERY COMMERCIAL MESSAGE MUST ADHERE TO IN ORDER TO NOT BE SPAM.
CONSENTYou must have consent to send a commercial message, there are many ways to gain consent.
SENDER IDENTIFICATIONYou must identify yourself when sending the message, either in a recognisable CallerID or within the message itself.
FUNCTIONAL UNSUBSCRIBE FACILITYYou must provide a conspicuous and functional unsubscribe method that is active for at least 30 days.
THE IDEA BEHIND CONSENT IS THAT THE RECIPIENT SHOULD WANT TO RECEIVE YOUR MESSAGE AND FIND IT USEFUL WHEN THEY DO. NOBODY WANTS MESSAGES THAT ARE IRRELEVANT TO THEM. THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF CONSENT.
- Filling in a form,
- ticking a box on a website
- over the phone
- swapping business cards
The recipient must be clearly aware that he or she may receive commercial messages in the future. You cannot send an electronic message to seek consent: this is in itself a commercial message, because it seeks to establish a business relationship. Keep a record of consent, you may need to prove it later.
- Through an existing business relationship
- Through conspicuous publication of a work-related number
If an organisation has a strong relationship with the owner of the number such as a club member or service subscriber receiving messages may be implied.
Consent may also be implied by publishing of numbers/email address on websites, in magazines or other publications. The recipient must be identified as relevant to your message. eg if you want to send information about a technology product the recipient must be identified as the IT manager. If there is a statement that unsolicited commercial messages are not wanted you cannot infer consent.
YOU MUST IDENTIFY YOURSELF WHEN SENDING COMMERCIAL MESSAGES. GENERALLY PEOPLE WILL NOT RECOGNISE YOU SO YOU MUST IDENTIFY YOURSELF IN THE MESSAGE.
Some systems allow you to edit the CallerID so that when a recipient receives the message a name appears instead of an unknown number. You can use this to identify yourself however be aware that you cannot receive replies using this method so you will need to provide some other type of opt-out method.
IDENTIFY YOURSELF IN THE MESSAGE
The best way to identify yourself is within the message, this way you can use a special number to receive replies and process opt-out’s. It is also a good idea to qualify the recipient as to why they are receiving the message. eg. Beauty Spa Members. This weeks specials are... By identifying yourself you will lessen the risk of damaging your brand by annoying people. They will not always remember when or how they cam to subscribe to your service.
How do I allow users to opt-out?
AS PART OF YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES YOU MUST PROVIDE AN OPT-OUT METHOD THAT IS PART OF YOUR MESSAGE.
OPT-OUT LONG CODE
Siteflex provides automatic opt-outs which allows the recipient to reply to the message. This is the simplest method for the recipient.
In case of SMS messaging, this is usually with the word STOP. Siteflex system provides free use of an opt-out long code. The recipient can simply reply STOP to automatically remove themselves from future SMS messages.
Siteflex also automatically attaches 'Unsubscribe' and 'Manage My Subscription' link to every email that is sent. The recipient can simply click on these links to remove themselves from future email campaigns
Do you have permission?
To send a message to anyone using Siteflex, you must have clearly obtained their permission.
This could be done through:
- A subscribe form on your web site.
- An opt-in checkbox on a form. This checkbox must not be checked by default, the person completing the form must willingly select the checkbox to indicate they want to hear from you.
- If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that they would be contacted by email AND they ticked a box indicating they would like to be contacted.
- Customers who have purchased from you within the last 2 years.
- If someone gives you their business card and you have explained to them that you will be in touch, you can contact them. If they dropped their business card in a fishbowl at a trade show, there must be a sign indicating they will be contacted.
Basically, you can only ever send a message to anyone who has clearly given you permission to message them specifically about the subject you're contacting them about.
What kind of recipients ARE NOT OK to send to with Siteflex?
Anything outside the examples above doesn't equal permission in our eyes, but here are some examples to make sure we're crystal clear. By using Siteflex, you agree not to import or send to any recipient which:
- You do not have explicit, provable permission to contact in relation to the topic that you are messaging.
- You bought, loaned, rented or in any way acquired from a third party, no matter what they claim about quality or permission. You need to obtain permission yourself.
- You haven't contacted via appropriate method (such as SMS, email) in the last 2 years. Permission doesn't age well and these people have either changed numbers or won't remember giving their permission in the first place.
- You scraped or copy and pasted from the web or anywhere else. Just because you have someone's number doesn't mean they want to hear from you.
Sure, some of these people might have given you their mobile numbers, but what's missing is your permission to send them commercial messages. Blasting promotional messages to any of these people won't be effective and will more than likely see your message marked as spam by many of your recipients.
What content MUST I include in my message?
Every campaign you send using Siteflex must include the following:
An Opt-Out reply mechanism that instantly removes the subscriber from your list. Once they unsubscribe, you can never message them again. This process is handled automatically within Siteflex system. Opt-Out cannot be removed.
How we'll know if you don't have permission
Siteflex has numerous layers of approval and monitoring to ensure you comply with our anti-spam policy. Here's a few of them:
- Our software is directly integrated into the spam reporting systems for some of the biggest global carriers. If you don't have permission and someone makes a complaint regarding your message, we'll know about it the moment that complaint is made. If you receive a complaint rate greater than 0.25% of all recipients (that's 25 complaints for every 10,000 recipients) your account will be terminated. This is a generous figure that takes into account false spam reports.
- We monitor blacklists and our abuse accounts all day every day. We can pinpoint who is causing us delivery problems or attracting complaints very easily.
- Consumers may now directly report SPAM message to ACMA via the 0429 999 888 spam reporting number and SPAM Reporting Service
If we do discover that you're messaging people without their permission, we will terminate your SMS/email account with Siteflex immediately.
In the end, it's really common sense.
Take off your marketing hat and put yourself in your recipient's shoes. If they don't recognize who you are or aren't interested in what you're sending, they'll think you're a spammer. It's that simple.
Remember, all messaging activity within the system must comply with the SPAM ACT 2003.
If you have any questions about our Anti-Spam Policy, or if you want to report spamming activity by one of our customers, please contact us