The Spam act and what it means for your Australian business

The Spam act and what it means for your Australian business

Marketers need to know more about Spam than its status as a cult processed meat and an annoyingly catchy Monty Python song. Awareness of spam legislation in Australia should be key for any marketer who is working with email, SMS or instant messaging (which should be pretty much any marketer working today). 
 
So what is Spam? In Australia, spam is defined as an “unsolicited commercial electronic message”1 with an Australian link (which means it was either sent to an Australian email address or originated in Australia, or both). 
 
Breaking that down – “unsolicited” means that the message was not sent with the consent of the addressee. You can gain consent in one of two ways: 
  • Express consent, where an individual or organisation completes a form, ticks a box on a website, gives consent in a meeting or over the phone, or by providing a business card.
  • Inferred consent – where consent can be inferred by a previous business or other relationship. This means current customers (unless they expressly opt out) have given inferred consent. 
 
Messages are considered ‘commercial’ when they contain an offer, advertisement or promotion for the supply or supplier of goods, services, land, business or investment.
 
Electronic” messages are not just emails – SMS, MMS or text messages to your phone as well as any instant messages are also covered by the Spam Act. 
 
In addition, all messages must have two other features to be compliant with the Spam Act: 
  1. A functional unsubscribe facility – which must operate for at least 30 days after sending the message. All unsubscribe requests must be honoured within 5 working days.
  2. Clear and accurate identification of the sender (individual or organisation) or individual or organisation that authorised the sending of the message (if sent by a third party)
So what does this mean for marketers? 
  • Consent: Ignorance is no excuse so it’s critical that you know if consent has been given for your emails. Ensure that accurate records are kept (this can be automated in many mail platforms such as Campaign Monitor, Vision 6 and MailChimp)
  • Create, manage and prioritise your data integrity, including actioning unsubscribe requests promptly, and ensuring that all databases are updated.
  • Ensure your sign-up forms and contact us forms are ‘opt-in’ rather than ‘opt-out’ (boxes are not pre-ticked)
  • If you are using purchased lists (and I have yet to find a list that actually gives good ROI), then it’s your responsibility to ascertain whether the contacts on the list provided consent, and how it was provided. 
 
If you’d like help with your email marketing, Atomic Tangerine are here to help!
 
 
Sybil Williams
Founder & Growth Catalyst