One of the cool things I was reminded of at Insight, SparkPost’s annual user conference, is just how diverse the community of email pros really is.

One way that diversity is reflected is in the simple fact that email is a global medium. That globalization is remarkable, but it introduces its own set of challenges: understanding the needs of different markets, deciphering the code of international deliverability, and navigating the legal and regulatory frameworks that govern different jurisdictions.

privacy-hairball

We recently shared several best practices for sending email outside of North America in a webinar about international email marketing, but the shifting landscape of global email and data privacy regulations is complicated enough to warrant some extra attention. Lucky for us, an expert panel at Insight 2015 shared updates on several significant international email marketing and data privacy rules in Canada, the European Union, Australia, and Russia. Here are some of the highlights.

First off the blocks was Matthew Vernhout of Inbox Marketer, and an expert on Canadian anti-spam laws (CASL). He highlighted several dramatic enforcements of CASL violations, as well as changes to Canada’s Digital Privacy Act. As Matthew pointed out, CASL enforcements are becoming a significant issue in light of a recent, record CAD 30 million fine against the Avis Budget Group for what was judged to be misleading advertising in an email marketing campaign. One facet of the enforcements worth noting is that the Canadian authorities have been making a distinction between willful violations that warrant substantial administrative monetary penalties (AMP) and the inadvertent violations that fall instead under the lesser category of undertakings.

Next, Dennis Dayman of Return Path discussed the implications of a recent court decision invalidating the long-standing “safe harbor” provisions that govern data collected on European citizens, but stored in U.S. data centers. Although Dennis suggested that the sky may not be falling quite yet, he also was very up-front that the the full impact of this ruling remains to be seen, as it has the potential to upend current practices by many American Internet companies who operate in Europe.

James Koons of dotmailer reviewed the sometimes confusing state of affairs in Russia. Russian Federal Law 242 quite explicitly requires all data collected on citizens of the Russian Federation to be stored on servers within the country’s territory. However, James also noted that current penalties described by the law are so small in monetary terms as to suggest that some businesses may be tempted perform a cost-benefit analysis of compliance and fines. Additionally, he noted that there is some ambiguity about the regulations affecting extraterritorial data transfers, because Russia is a signatory to relevant European regulations that do allow transfer of data, as long as certain conditions are met.

Finally, Dean Maidment of Taguchi Digital Marketing covered updates to Australia’s wide-ranging privacy principles. The long and short of these regulations is that Australian citizens now have a far-reaching right to demand a copy of all data that makes an individual “reasonably identifiable,” and the Australian framework may well be interpreted very broadly. His advice to companies doing business in Australia is to be highly proactive about preparing for enforcement of this regulation—and to be ready for even more sweeping interpretations in the future.

With these ongoing changes to privacy and anti-spam laws around the world, it’s clear international email marketing requires careful planning before clicking the send button. The overview from these experts about key regulations that affect email and data collection programs is a great starting point for getting up to speed.

To learn more, be sure to check out our helpful webinars on international email marketing and CASL. And our friends at the Email Experience Council (EEC) have provided detail on several of these global regulations.

What else would you like to learn about topics like CASL and safe harbor? I’d love to hear from you!

—Brent
@brentsleeper

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Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

It’s that time of the week where we bring you stuff to ponder for the weekend!

Is Cyber Monday the worst day for a sale? 

A pertinent question in the season for shopping. And the answer lies with the nature of your business. With Cyber Monday following closely on the heels of Black Friday, customers are inundated with direct marketing messages like email. Retail luxury goods promotions may work, but not so for magazine subscriptions and the like. Running a campaign during this time period might be akin to shouting in a void. Sleigh bells and cash registers may be ringing for the retail sector, but if you’re not in that business, it’s possible no one is listening to you.

Congress May Require Police to Get a Warrant for Your Emails

The times they are a-changing. And the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is now up for review – a bill that has been left untouched since 1986. Currently, the police only require a warrant for emails less than 6 months old. It’s the efficiency of law enforcement versus the citizen’s right to online privacy – whose side are you on?

Biggest spammers? Marketers.

Sobering news. Our partner Return Path’s Q3 Email Intelligence Report found that 70% of all spam complaints can be traced to marketers. Rather than unsubscribe from emails that people once opted-in to receive, people are simply categorizing them as spam and ISPs are taking action – deliverability rates have dropped to 82% in the United States. Despite these findings, email still retains its effectiveness – a study by the Direct Marketing Association found that email still had the highest ROI of $40.56 for every dollar spent. Search, which came in second place, only netted $22.24.

Email Personalization: 137% increase in open rate from personal note approach

The title speaks entirely for itself. By including the name of the recipient, the name & email of the sender and removing design elements so an invitation to attend a webinar looked like a letter rather than an email, MarketingSherpa was able to achieve a whooping 137.4% higher open rate and 128.9% higher clickthrough than with a non-personalised version. That speaks volumes in how businesses should go about email marketing campaigns.

Did You Know 144.8 Billion Emails Are Sent Every Day?

Everyone loves a good infographic. This may not be yesterday’s news but it’s still interesting to know that “in the time it took you to read this sentence, 20 million emails were written”. Again, who doesn’t love a good infographic?

Email Today Infographic