Are Unsolicited Emails Illegal?

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When drawing customers in to your business spend time targeting people who have an interest in what you’re offering. To this point, sending out random emails is probably not the most effective way to do the job. You may get lucky and find interested customers. However, you also run the risk of annoying a good part of the population. These people may have been interested, but now they’re turned off and will likely take their business elsewhere. That’s why it’s a much better idea to develop a mailing list of a targeted audience. Targeted mailing lists include individuals who have either shown interest in your business or are more likely to have an interest in it.

That being said, many companies don’t have mailing lists of their own and they need to start somewhere. This often means purchasing mailing lists from data management companies. The individuals on these lists may not know about your company but, if your emails are properly crafted, you can really connect with them. Before you begin, there are some things you should know before hitting the send button.

Rules for Unsolicited Email

Sending unsolicited emails is not illegal, but if you don’t follow the rules, you could get into trouble. Because many people don’t like to have their inboxes or spam folders flooded with emails for products or services they don’t need. As a result, the following protections are in place:


The CAN-SPAM Act, or “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act” of 2003 was put into place to regulate the practices of commercial emailers. Under this act, you must be very clear who you are, what you’re selling and that your email is a solicitation. You must also include a physical address and contact information for your business. Another important note: you must include a link people can use if they want to unsubscribe from your email. If they do so, you should honor that request within 10 days. Don’t keep flooding their inbox!

If you disobey any of the rules of the CAN-SPAM act, the Federal Trade Commission can fine you as much as $11,000. Those are some expensive emails!


GDPR, or the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, went into effect in May of 2018. It is one of the biggest data privacy acts to be enacted in the past 20 years. If your company receives web traffic from European Union visitors, then you must comply with the GDPR. It aims to protect the personal information of anyone in the European Union.

If your company collects personal information to send emails, then you must first ask consent before getting that information. If you offer content on your website and ask for the person’s email address in order for them to see it, you must be very clear about how their information will be used. You must also offer the choice to opt out of future emails, and provide a link to your GDPR compliant privacy policy. By law, you shouldn’t send any emails to people who didn’t agree to receive them.

If you intend to send unsolicited email, you need to abide by these rules. Not only can you face fines if you don’t, but you also run the risk of portraying your business in a bad light. People want to do business with companies they can trust. If people can’t trust you not to send them an email they don’t want, how can they trust the services or products you’re providing?

Why email lists work

No one is denying that email can be a powerful form of direct marketing. But, there are much better ways of going about it then sending untargeted, unsolicited email. Working with a company, such as DataMasters, that can develop a targeted email list, are much more effective. One big reason why targeted mailing lists work is because you know that you’re reaching people who are more likely to have interest in what you’re offering.

If you’re selling auto-related products, DataMasters can develop an email list of car enthusiasts based on factors like geography, car make, and model, as well as demographics. If your business directly relates to one brand of car, get an email list for people who own that brand. This can dramatically increase your success rate compared to sending unsolicited emails to people who don’t even have the type of car you’re trying to target.

You can not only target potential customers who have an interest in your business, but you also portray your business as one that has done its homework and cares about its customers. In your email, you can also aim to make it personal so people feel as though they already have a connection with your business before spending one cent. This will make them more apt to find out more about your business and patronize it.

If you’re ready to get the most of your email marketing campaign, let Data Masters do the work for you. Our team of experts develop mailing lists that work!

Call DataMasters today at 469-549-1800 to learn more. Find out why so many people trust DataMasters with their marketing needs!