The California appellate court’s decision in Balsam v. Trancos requires marketers nationwide using commercial email advertisements to include in the from line of each email either a domain name that is registered to the sender which can be determined by performing a WHOIS look-up, or the name of the sender or marketer on whose behalf the email was sent. For example, the court found that an email that was sent using a privately/proxy registered domain with “Paid Survey” in the from line violated California’s anti-spam law, California Business & Professions Code § 17529.5(a)(2). By contrast, an email that advertised eHarmony and which was sent from “eHarmony@minecyclic.com” did not violate the statute despite the fact that the email marketer – not eHarmony – privately registered the sending domain name “minecyclic.com” with a proxy service.
Under the Balsam v. Trancos decision, marketers – and the companies they hire including affiliate networks – can no longer send commercial email that contains both a generic from line and is sent from a proxy/privately registered domain name. Further, because of substantial similarities between the statute at issue in the Balsam decision and CAN-SPAM (the federal law governing commercial email), marketers nationwide using commercial email advertisements must now revise and update their email protocols, and ensure they are compliant with this latest development in anti-spam law.
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