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FAQ On Our Updated Email Acceptable Use Policy

We've received a few questions recently about our updated Email Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) 
  • What, specifically, has changed about your Email Acceptable Use Policy? 
    Luminate Online customers will see slight changes to the Email AUP. As Luminate has always been a high-acquisition, high-volume email system, we've long had very specific terms about obtaining consent, use of third party lists, and acceptable vs unacceptable sending practices. The main change to our Email AUP is that now it applies to all Blackbaud systems that send bulk email, including Blackbaud NetCommunity, Online Express, eTapestry, BBIS, and others.

    Customers will see tighter language about obtaining consent when using third-party lists and Blackbaud email append services. We also made the language about enforcement of email marketing best practices more explicit. In short, if you send email to excessive spam traps or one of your campaigns triggers a blacklist event, we will advise you of this fact and help you remediate issues with your list. If an organization does not respond to our outreach, consequences could include suspending bulk email sending ability until they do.   
  • Why did you make these changes? 
    Our email experts constantly monitor the performance of our servers and our customers' email campaigns, to a very detailed degree. These email specialists also track email industry trends and consult with outside experts to make sure we're on top of shifts and changes in this environment. We've seen major shifts since May related to how blacklist authorities and mailbox providers treat email campaigns that contain SPAM traps. Specifically, punitive actions (such as blacklisting and SPAM folder placement) against senders with poor list management practices have increased. This trend is industry-wide, and impacts nonprofit as well as commercial email senders. 
  • How many spam traps is "too many"? 
    Our email specialists would say that sending to even one spam trap is "too many". You will hear from us immediately if one of your email campaigns triggers a blacklist event. You might hear from us if you send to three or more spam traps in one email send. 
  • Why don't you just suppress the spam trap emails?   
    To prevent malicious senders from simply excluding spam traps from their lists, these emails are legitimate addresses, and new spam trap emails are "created" every day. Unfortunately, we can't identify all of the spam traps; we rely on clients to manage their data and only send to engaged recipients who opt-in to receive messages. Fee-based data hygiene services can help you "scrub" your list of known bad email addresses but will not protect you from spam traps that have not been identified as such. The best way to keep your email list clean is to suppress inactive email addresses and to maintain healthy email collection and list management practices.  
  • We do not display an email opt-in checkbox on our donation forms, surveys, action alerts. Instead, we opt-in constituents automatically then include a note on the form that says that registration/donations include periodic emails from our organization – and you can opt-out at any time. Does this violate explicit opt-in in the AUP?

    The answer to this depends on whether your organization is subject to GDPR or CASL regulations or not (that's Europe's General Data Protection Regulation and the Canadian Anti-SPAM Legislation). 

    If you’re not, as long as you have clear, up-front content stating that people will be opted in to email – this activity is covered under this portion of the AUP:
         “Wherever you collect email addresses, describe the nature of messages you send and the identities – such as domain names or brands.” So as long as you are letting the registrant/donor/whomever know they are being added to the list, and either give information about the nature of messages you send or link to a page that explains frequency/types of email, you are following our AUP.
    If you are required to comply with GDPR, then GDPR requires an explicit opt-in that the user has to take an action to select.  Pre-selection is NOT in compliance with GDPR. Similarly, CASL requires explicit opt in, as well as 6 month opt out if the user isn't re-engaged somehow.

    A lot of organizations pre-select the opt-in box. As a best practice, from a compliance perspective we recommend you not pre-select this box. However, it's still a permitted action under our AUP.
  • Where can I learn more? 
    Our Email Resource Center offers tons of insights into the email industry, provides best practices for optimizing email deliverability and sender reputation, and includes an extensive FAQ
Posted by Kathryn Hall on Jun 29, 2018 10:53 AM America/New_York

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