Is it me or does the CAN-SPAM legislation (read about it at: http://www.spamlaws.com/federal/108s877.shtml) seem to be tossed about more frequently than Caesar salad or name-dropped more readily than Larry King disclosing his life-long friendship with [insert your favorite celebrity or sporting hero here]? Chances are if you go to any ESP Website or deliverability-oriented blog page, you'll see ample references made to it. Though any ethical member of the email marketing community wants to do his/her part to curtail Spam, I've never seen much empirical evidence as to the earth-shattering benefits derived from this legislation's existence. Blasphemy say you?
I've always thought the elements described therein can be categorized to be common sense best practices more than anything. Let's take this opportunity to see what the important aspects under the kimono are if you will:
1) Prohibits the use of misleading subject lines. Not sure why you have to mandate a legitimate email marketer to do this. You mean I won't sell more porn by using "Information on New Joel Osteen Book" in my subject line?
2) Senders must use a physical address within the email body. Sounds quite straightforward, doesn't it? Your customer/recipient needs this context to feel more comfortable continuing the email conversation with you. In fact, why would you not want them to have that information if trying to engender trust in your brand/message?
3) Senders cannot use false headers in messages. Again, such a blatantly obvious mandate falling under the "Duh!" category. Thou shalt not spoof headers.
4) Specifies use of a clearly defined and expedient opt-out process. No "please allow 3-4 weeks for us to process your request" BS. The fact is that you shouldn't be doing any kind of email marketing if not employing this best practice. If you really love your customer/recipient, let them go.
I know there is other minutia included in CAN-SPAM for smarter people than I to bicker over, however let's be honest in stating that it's not really that important when compared to the four aforementioned items. Following them will give you all the compliance you'll ever need to have as things currently stand.