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Best Practices for Organisations

last updated 14 November 2016

Spam is unsolicited commercial electronic messages sent in bulk. If an organisation sends commercial electronic messages in bulk to recipients who did not request to receive the message, or did not give their prior and informed consent to the receipt of the message, it is considered as spam.

DMAS has developed two Checklists that can be used before launching either email or SMS/MMSC campaigns.

Marketers following these practices will be considered to have made legitimate or proper use of this critical communication channel.

Electronic Marketing Guidelines

1. Requirements for Compliance with Spam Control Regime

The Spam Control Act regime provides a framework in which spammers – be it through e-mails or the mobile phone - must follow. Some of these guidelines include the use of labels <ADV> to mark a message as spam, and to offer an unsubscribe option. Non-compliance with these requirements could result in civil penalties for the spammer.

The use of dictionary attacks or address harvesting software to spam is strictly prohibited under the regime. Persons who authorise the sending of these non-compliant spams will also be subject to the same civil penalties.

2. Unsubscribe Facility

To comply with the regime, each spam must have:

  • Contact information - That can be in the form of an e-mail address, an Internet location address, a telephone number, a facsimile number or a postal address that a recipient can use to submit an unsubscribe request. It is strongly suggested that this contact takes the same form as the spam message itself – an e-mail spam should offer an unsubscribe facility through e-mail, while a mobile SMS spam should offer a reply via the recipient's cellphone.
  • Clear statement – This will state explicitly for the recipient that he or she could use the above contact to submit an unsubscribe request and this statement shall be in English. The statement may also be presented in two or more languages but at least one of the languages shall be the English language.

The above contact should be a valid contact for at least 30 days, that could receive unsubscribe requests from recipients of spam. The use of this contact should not cost the sender of unsubscribe request more than the usual cost of using such a contact.

Once an unsubscribe request is submitted, the spammer should remove the recipient's electronic mail address or mobile phone number from the mailing list within 10 business days.

Anyone who receives the unsubscribe request should not disclose the information to others, except with permission from the sender of the unsubscribe request.

3. Labelling and Other Requirements

Responsible marketing includes the simple courtesy of correctly informing the recipients about the content of the message. So, each spam should include

  • Correct and not misleading title in the subject field of the message, if the message has a subject field.
  • <ADV> before the title of the message, or in the case where there is no subject field, before the actual content of the message.
  • Correct and non-misleading header information where applicable.
  • An accurate and functional e-mail address or telephone number by which the spammer could readily be contacted. 

4. Do Not Call (DNC) Registry

Organisations that send telemarketing messages in the form of voice calls, text or fax messages to Singapore telephone numbers, including mobile, fixed-line, residential and business numbers, must ensure compliance with the DNC Provisions in Part IX of the Personal Data Protection Act 2012.

For more information on the DNC Registry, please click here.