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As a certified sender, what do I have to know about clear and conspicuous disclosure?

Clear and conspicuous disclosure is a term used in the email industry to describe how a sender should communicate to subscribers at the point of collection about how their email address and personal information will be used.

The communication should be visible and easily seen at the point of collection and should disclose what email the subscriber will receive and when they will receive it from the sender. This information cannot be hidden in a privacy policy or in small print at the bottom of a web page.

Why do I need to offer a clear and conspicuous disclosure?

If subscribers know what type of email they will receive, how a sender got their email address, and how their email and personal information will be used, they will have a better experience with the mailing program and be less likely to complain about it. This, in turn, positively affects a sender's mailing and brand reputation.

Governments have laws that require email to have clear, conspicuous disclosure. For example, the California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 (OPPA) demands that senders post an easy-to-find privacy policy on their company website. The privacy policy must tell consumers what information the site gathers and what they will do with it.

What to do

At the point of collection, tell users (in plain, everyday language):

  • What type of commercial or promotional email they will get from you
  • Why their email address is being collected
  • How you will share or rent their email addresses or personal Information
  • Any consequences of sharing or renting their email addresses or personal information
  • If you have gotten their email address through a relationship with another list owner
  • The same thing you told them in the privacy policy (this is not required, but is a best practice)
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