Are you a spammer without realising?

Did you know that one single email sent to one person can be breaking Spam Laws?

Under Australian law, a message does not have to be sent in bulk to be considered spam. You may be spamming, and not realise.

Email is the most prolific digital medium to communicate in, with over 144 billion emails are sent every day. Yet almost 68% of emails are spam mail. Spam Email

Before you press SEND on that next email, let’s make sure you stay on the right side of the Australian law.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about email – what is legal or what is downright annoying. In this article, I’ll cover the legalities.

There are 3 areas to consider to stay inside the law and avoid sending spam email without realising it.

Number One: Do you have consent?

There are two different types of consent.

  1. Express Consent
  2. Inferred Consent

Let’s have a look at Express Consent.

This is the clearest form of consent.

If you want to get people’s permission to send them an email, you should ask them to tick a box on a form specifically to receive newsletters. Or enter in their email address on a web form. Or enter their email address in a promotion or some other type of marketing.

The person is expressly giving you their consent to receive emails (newsletters) from you.

By receiving express consent, you’ve been given the go-ahead to contact them via email and prevent your emails from being tagged as spam.

Inferred Consent is a little trickier.


If an email address is published conspicuously then this is inferred consent.

The email address may be published on a brochure, a website, the yellow pages, on LinkedIn, on Facebook or some other publicly accessible place.

However, if you would like to send emails to this person, you must be aware of the law. You are within the law if your email is ‘directly related to the principal role or function of the recipient.’

For example, you are a children’s clothing manufacturer, and your products are stocked in children’s boutiques. You find the email address of a children’s boutique on their website and send them an email about your product. This is not spam. Their address was published in the public domain, and your email is directly related to their business.

Step 2: Include the right details

To prevent yourself from unknowingly sending spam mail, the recipient needs to be able to identify who the email is from, and that includes your business details. This would include the business name, a business email address, and possibly the physical address or website address of your company.

Step 3: Add an Unsubscribe option

You must include an easy way for the recipient of the email to unsubscribe from your email. Instructions should be easy to find, and easy to follow. For example, an ‘unsubscribe’ link in your email is a suitable way to make it easy for the reader to get off your list.

If you do receive a request for an unsubscribe, make sure you add the email address to your ‘Do Not Mail’ list. Don’t delete them, as it might be easy to add them back again by accident in the future. Instead, keep a ‘Do Not Mail’ list to avoid that common error and prevent yourself from breaking spam laws.

Emails can grow your business, as long as you stay out of the Spam folder. We’ve put together the SPAM-FREE Short Cut Guide to Emailing. It’s free! Click here to get it.
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  1. Thanks for clearing it up! Very interesting info.

  2. Camilla says:

    Hi jenny!
    I keep a record of every person who purchase any of my products (businesses and customers). If i email them a newsletter, without asking them, is that spam? I mean, they have obviously purchased through my business and therefore the content may be in their interest…

    • Hi Camilla
      You can send them an email regarding the purchase. But beyond that, technically, no you shouldn’t be emailing them. So the best idea is to send them an email and ask them to join your newsletter. That way you’ll get their express consent.

  3. Hi Jenny

    That is a great summary of spam laws in Australia – thanks. As our CRM allows users to send out mass emails I am often asked about what is considered spam. We have recently posted this page on our website regarding “sender reputation”.

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