Why Advertisers need to know section 17 of the Spam Act

What Advertisers need to Know about the Spam Act

Upside.Digital have been working with the ACMA recently on educating both publishers and advertisers on what we see are key areas which publishers and advertisers do not have a clear understanding, and to set some guidelines around these sections.

It should be noted that these guidelines refer to “solus emails” being sent by publishers on behalf of advertisers promoting their product or service. If you are sending any other commercial emails and are unclear how the sections within the Spam Act apply to you, you should seek legal advice.

There are three key elements to the Spam Act 2003 which are:

The general understanding among Australian Advertisers about the Spam Act, what it contains, and what it means for them, is low. If you want to get an general understanding on what the Spam Act is and contains, read our article: The Spam Act 2003The section that seems to be overlooked the most in the Spam Act is section 17: Commercial electronic messages must include accurate sender information. If you’re a publisher and worried about what implications section 17 have for your company, read our article Why Publishers need to know section 17 of the Spam Act, and learn what you as a publisher need to consider. If you want to learn more about Consent and get to know the difference between express and inferred consent, you find all you need in Consent For Email Leads. If you’re not sure what we refer to when talking about Solus email, have a go and read this article: What is a Solus emailFinally, if you want to read more about what the Spam Act say about unsubscribes, go to our article Unsubscribe functionality in emails.

Every week we receive email creatives from advertisers, and they can be beautifully designed and work flawlessly in all browsers and devices, but ever so often the creative is missing one the most important parts of them all; advertiser contact details. Every time this happens we need to get back to the advertiser and explain the importance of including contact details in the email, and every time valuable time is lost in editing the email with new revision rounds to follow as the result, when the email could already be out generating revenue for all parts.
The ACMA clearly states in the Spam Act, that any commercial email sent must accurately identify the organisation authorising the send (you as the advertiser), and details on how to get in contact with you. If these conditions are not met, the message is simply classified as spam. Hence, although you’re not actually the company pushing the send button, you’re still causing spam emails to be sent, and as a consequence you can are held liable for it.

Now, what information is required to identify you as the advertiser and what contact details do you need to include? You need your current contact details that are likely to not chance for a minimum of 30 days, and you need to make it clear what the details are for (contacting you). To identify yourself you need to include your business or legal trading name and ABN, and the information on how to contact you needs to include the address, and then either phone number or email.
Although it’s recommended to have all these details in the mail itself, it’s legally sufficient to have a link to a web page where these details are present. It’s important to note though, it needs to be clearly stated in the email that they need to visit this page to access the details. If the page happens to be unavailable or is missing out on any of the required details, the email will be classified as spam.

Hence, do not leave it in the hands of publishers to make sure you’re following these laws. It’s of great importance that you proactively check that any creatives you send to agents and clients comply with all aspects of the Spam Act.

Below you can see an example of how a solus email creative could look like, with the contact information made available from both the publisher and advertiser:

Advertiser Email Example

References and useful links:

The Spam Act 2003: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sa200366

Sender identification: http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Marketers/Anti-Spam/Ensuring-you-dont-spam/sender-identification-ensuring-you-dont-spam-i-acma

Sender identification—does your audience know who you are?: http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/engage-blogs/engage-blogs/Emarketing/Sender-identification-does-your-audience-know-who-you-are