Newsletters and mailing lists are all the rage right now. Pretty much every single advise on growing your blog or business includes something about starting and maintaining one – and for good reason.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email service providers (ESPs) out there but one concern I see pop up all the time is why are they asking for my address? Truth is, if you have an ESP that doesn’t ask for your address, you need to get a new one ASAP.
Listing Your Address Is A Legal Requirement
I completely understand how being asked for your address and having it show up on your newsletter sends off a huge red flag – after all, who want their address floating around the Internet? However, at least here in the U.S., it is a legal requirement under the CAN-SPAM Act.
The CAN-SPAM Act regulates how businesses (and if you make money from your blog, you’re a business) communicates with its customers (aka, your readers).
Live in another country? Mailchimp has a great resource listing requirements for each country.
So what if you don’t include your address? Consequences are pretty big – they come in the form of fines. Huge fucking fines.
Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, so non-compliance can be costly.
That’s a direct quote from the FTC. $16,000. For. Each. Separate. Email. Yikes. “[N]on-compliance can be costly”, you don’t say, FTC, you don’t say.
Ok, but I doesn’t have to be my full address, right?
This is something I see a lot of bloggers and creatives do – and even encourage. They’ll list their city and call it a day or list the street name and city. Something along the lines of –
NOPE. Please try again. Per FTC’s guidelines (see #4), your emails must include a physical mailing address. Basically, if I can’t send you snail mail to the address listed on your newsletter, it doesn’t count. It has to be address where you can receive mail. Period. Or you can say hello to up to $16,000 penalty per email sent (it hurts my soul just thinking about it).
It doesn’t have to be your home address
The good news here is that it doesn’t have to your home address. You can get a PO Box at your local post office or a private mailbox at your UPS store or similar and you’ll be compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act.
This is the option I recommend and use my self (you best believe I wouldn’t be posting a screenshot of my home address on here). For safety reasons it’d be pretty darn silly to list your home address on an email campaign going to hundreds or thousands of people but you also need to avoid ’em hefty fines (unless you have that kind of money just laying around – in which case, still get a PO Box and just send me the money, I can probably put it better use than the FTC).
But in all seriousness, while paying for a PO Box is an added expense, it is much much much cheaper than the FTC fines, so get on it!