What is CASL, and why should Australian Small Businesses care?
CASL is Canada’s anti-spam legislation that came into effect on the 1st of July of 2014. Even if you’re a Small Business in Australia you can be prosecuted. The penalty for individuals is capped at $1 million, and for businesses at $10 million. One wayward unsolicited message to a Canadian resident, and it could wipe you out. After July 1st, 2017, individuals can also launch a civil case against you.
Pretty serious stuff.
At first glance it may seem a little heavy handed. After all, $10 million is a heck of a lot of cash to come up with at short notice if you get on the naughty list. I’m a big believer of carrots rather than sticks when it comes to modifying behaviour. Every now and then a smack is warranted for more serious problems. And SPAM is pretty serious.
We’re all kind of used to it. Most modern email services do a pretty good job of taking care of it for us so we don’t notice it. Gmail is great at knocking SPAM out of my inbox, but it also gets quite a few legitimate emails that I DO want to receive.
You see the problem? The SPAMmers have ruined it for all. Email is a great way to communicate with your customers IF they want to receive the information. That’s why I think the CASL legislation could be the foot in the backside that small business users need.
You often hear people bragging about how big their list is. There’s a lot of truth to “the money is in the list” statements you hear. What’s more important is the relationship you have with the people in your list. A list of 10,000 that never read your messages is less valuable than a list of 100 engaged contacts.
CASL could be a blessing in disguise for Small Business. It’s going to force people to go back to their lists and reconfirm interest. Sure, many lists will shrink. Better to sort the wood from the chaff. It should result in much higher quality lists with people that actually want to hear what you have to say. Imagine that!
Maybe then, the SPAM filters will figure out we’ve requested the emails that arrive and deliver them to my inbox.
One consequence of CASL is for small businesses outside of Canada being collateral damage. You see, the deliverability of your emails relies on a few different things. One major criteria is is the credibility of the sender. This means both you and your email provider. If they are not on top of ensuring their users play by the rules, they could get hit with the banhammer. This would affect every user of their service.
Ask questions about what lengths the provider is taking. You need to mitigate the risks to legitimate Small Business users such as yourself