CAN-SPAM, a direct response of the growing number of complaints over spam e-mails, defines a "commercial electronic mail message" as "any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service (including content on an Internet website operated for a commercial purpose)." It exempts "transactional or relationship messages." The FTC issued final rules (16 CFR 316) clarifying the phrase "primary purpose" on December 16, 2004. Previous state laws had used bulk (a number threshold), content (commercial), or unsolicited to define spam. The explicit restriction of the law to commercial e-mails is widely considered by those in the industry to essentially exempt purely political and religious e-mail from its specific requirements. Such non-commercial messages also have stronger First Amendment protection, as shown in Jaynes v. Commonwealth.
Congress determined that the US government was showing an increased interest in the regulation of commercial electronic mail nationally, that those who send commercial e-mails should not mislead recipients over the source or content of them, and that all recipients of such emails have a right to decline them. However, CAN-SPAM does not ban spam emailing outright, but imposes laws on using deceptive marketing methods through headings that are "materially false or misleading". In addition there are conditions that email marketers must meet in terms of their format, their content, and labeling. The three basic types of compliance defined in the CAN-SPAM Act—unsubscribe, content, and sending behavior — are as follows:
A visible and operable unsubscribe mechanism is present in all emails.
Consumer opt-out requests are honored within 10 business days.
Opt-out lists also known as suppression lists are used only for compliance purposes.
Accurate "From" lines
Relevant subject lines (relative to offer in body content and not deceptive)
A legitimate physical address of the publisher or advertiser is present. PO Box addresses are acceptable in compliance with 16 CFR 316.2 and if the email is sent by a third party, the legitimate physical address of the entity, whose products or services are promoted through the email should be visible.
A label is present if the content is adult.
Sending behavior compliance
A message cannot be sent without an unsubscribe option.
A message cannot contain a false header
A message should contain at least one sentence.
A message cannot be null.
Unsubscribe option should be below the message.
There are no restrictions against a company emailing its existing customers or anyone who has inquired about its products or services, even if these individuals have not given permission, as these messages are classified as "relationship" messages under CAN-SPAM. But when sending unsolicited commercial emails, it must be stated that the email is an advertisement or a marketing solicitation. Note that recipients who have signed up to receive commercial messages from you are exempt from this rule.
If a user opts out, a sender has ten days to cease sending and can use that email address only for compliance purposes. The legislation also prohibits the sale or other transfer of an e-mail address after an opt-out request. The law also requires that the unsubscribe mechanism must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after the transmission of the original message.
My interpretation of the CAN_SPAM ACT, correct me if I'm wrong, states that it is permissible to send unsolicitated messages as long as you are in compliance as referenced above. IF they can opt-out, I send only legal material,and nothing I send is misleading, I should be able to send bulk emails. I don't understand why your policies are so restrictive, but under the circumstances, I can, and will, only use your service when and if I get a list of opted in subscribers by some other means. Also, before having someone go through all of the trouble to create an email that is just about to be sent out THEN producing the, "I CERTIFY" Pledge, could have saved at least an hour of my time had I known that beforehand.