Protection From Spam or Major Annoyance?

Regarding email marketing, Canada is an opt-in society. As a consumer you should not receive messages from people you have not given consent to, or from brands for whom you meet the measures of implied consent. For example, if you are a customer of a brand, they can email you. The consent is implied. Bottom line: this is easy for you to keep track of AND does not present a major problem for brands who want to contact you. As a consumer, you can at all times, unsubscribe from any brand - even if you are a customer.


The European Union has swung hard in this direction with their new GDPR law. They are looking for every brand to 're-permission" you every 2 years. So every 2 years you can expect an email asking for permission to keep you on their email list. Multiply this by all those you have given consent to, most of your email activity will be granting consent.

My question: is this "re-permissioning" more annoying than the current spam we receive? Is it in the best interest of every individual with an email address to be constantly granting this brand or that one to email them? Will this get very annoying, very fast?

I like the technology solution to this. We have noticed the delivery engines have been paying more attention to engagement statistics. If a brand sends you 20 emails, and you completely ignore every one of them, they ask the Email Service Provider to suppress you. If they do not they will see a deterioration in their email reputation, eventually leading to being shut down for sending too much spam. Self policing based on tracked data. Nice. The punishment fits the crime - the ESP cannot email until they deal with the delivery engines. At the end of the day only relevant messages are sent to individuals who want them.

So Canada's rules (CASL) appear to be a happy medium. When you give express consent to a brand they can email you for life or until you unsubscribe. That's an adult relationship. I give you permission and if your messages are no longer relevant to me or my circumstances, I unsubscribe. Not too big a deal for either party, and as I say, allows all to take responsibility for the relationship.

I am not sure the European email recipient is going to be too thrilled about this "re-permissioning every 2 years" thing, but who knows? Maybe it's not not taking it too far as I am suggesting. Time will tell.

What are your thoughts?

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