Commercial email did not grind to a halt the day after Canada’s anti-spam legislation took effect and neither did the coverage about the law’s impact (I appeared on CBC’s The Current to debate the issue). Coverage included Microsoft backtracking from its earlier decision to stop security update emails, apparently taking the time to actually read the legislation and find the exception for security notification. There was also a CBC story about the Canadian Avalanche Centre, which stopped an email service after hundred of customization options became “too much of a hassle to maintain”, but the CBC used the timing to link the decision to CASL.
BoldRadius is one of those SMEs that is supposed to be having problems with CASL, despite legal obligations to obtain consents and meet other requirements that have been in effect since 2004. Yet Faber’s initial experience is precisely what one might expect: as companies shift to opt-in lists with customers who explicitly consent to receive messages, they are more likely to open the emails and to click on the links. I asked Faber about the experience to date and he indicated that the company’s list has unsurprisingly slimmed down, but that it is much more qualified, will grow back over time, and offers a more engaged audience, which he prefers. A useful reminder that successful email marketing and opt-in consent are not incompatible. Indeed, opt-in is the standard in most countries around the world and was the unanimous recommendation of the Canadian National Task Force on Spam that included representatives from the marketing community.