Why Express Consent is Important?

What does express consent mean?

If you’re manually adding or importing a new contact to your email list, it’s important that you have their express consent.

Having your subscribers' permission to send emails to them is not just a good sending practice, but a requirement to use the MailPoet Sending Service, as the MailPoet plugin allows users to send bulk and marketing emails. If you're sending to email addresses without having their permission, you can be considered a spammer, according to our Anti-Spam Policy page.

Express consent is obtained when you explicitly ask your potential contacts for permission to send them an email when asking them to join your list, and they agree to it. In order to ensure you're following the best practices when asking for express consent, you must:

  • Make sure your checkboxes are not pre-checked;
  • Specify why you want the data and what you’re going to do with it;
  • Use clear and plain language when requesting for consent;
  • Be straightforward about what type of content you plan to send;
  • Avoid making consent a precondition of a service;
  • Keep consent requests separate from other terms & conditions;
  • Clearly identify the person, business, or organization asking for the consent;
  • Every email you send needs to have the option for the recipient to unsubscribe or “opt-out.” Your subscribers have the right to withdraw consent at any time;
  • Have a clear process in place to document this express consent.

What is proof of consent?

No matter how your subscribers consented (online or offline), you must keep good records that demonstrate the following:

  • Who consented: online username, email address, subscription confirmation IP address, session ID, etc.
  • When they consented: a copy of a dated document, photos of paper signup forms, or online records that include a timestamp (i.e.: subscription confirmation time); or, for oral consent, a note of the time and date which was made at the time of the conversation.
  • What they have agreed to at the time: a master copy of the document or data capture form containing the consent statement in use at that time, along with any separate privacy policy or other privacy information, including version numbers and dates matching the date consent was given. If consent was given orally, your records should include a copy of the script used at that time.
  • How they consented: for written consent, a copy of the relevant document or data capture form. If consent was given online, your records should include the data submitted as well as a timestamp to link it to the relevant version of the data capture form. If consent was given orally, you should keep a note of this made at the time of the conversation - it doesn’t need to be a full record of the conversation.

How to store proof of consent

If you plan to or are currently maintaining an email newsletter, you need to be aware that are many laws (region-specific requirements) that require you have proof of consent stored for your subscribers. This means it is reasonable to expect an email service provider (ESP) may ask for it.

Because of that, senders should always keep track of which department originally collected the address and how. At the time of address collection, a sender should consider what other types of data should be retained regarding the sign-up, such as IP address, date of collection and the website or event where the collection occurred.

Once you obtain express consent, it is good forever or until someone opts out.

When using MailPoet, you can export your subscriber's IP addresses as a column when exporting your subscriber's data.

If you're migrating from another solution to MailPoet, please refer to their documentation about consent and how you can export it. Here a list of articles related to some other email marketing services:

How long does consent last?

Although not all regulations set a  specific time limit for consent, how long it lasts will depend on the scope of the original consent request and your subscriber's expectations.

Special offers, promotions, and exclusive content are a great incentive for people to join your list but if you don’t follow-through, you could lose them as a reader and possibly as a customer.

You should keep your consents under review and consider refreshing consent at appropriate user-friendly intervals. 

If your business or purposes change and/or evolve, your original  consents may no longer apply to the type of content you're sending to your list. In this case, you will need to seek fresh consent and we strongly recommend following these steps to reconfirm the MailPoet subscribers to your list

If someone explicit withdraws consent through tools or sources other than MailPoet , you need to cease the processes based on their consent as soon as possible.

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