In compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, we have updated our policies for all CRM users. This article outlines the terms of use for the DSS Customer Relationship Management tool. These terms of use are in place to benefit everyone, and noncompliance will lead to account suspension.

Double Opt-in Is Required to Send Marketing Emails

When new contacts submit their email addresses through your contact form or offer form, they receive a “Thank you” page that tells them to check their email for a confirmation message. The contacts automatically receive a confirmation email generated by DSS sent to the email address provided. Here is an example of the confirmation email:

Dear XX,

Thank you for signing up to receive XXXXXX! We look forward to providing you this book/offer/newsletter/information and hope you will find it informative.

Please confirm your subscription to receive the book/offer/newsletter/information by clicking the link below or replying to this email.

Confirm Subscription

We ask for your confirmation to protect you from receiving unwanted email. If you do not respond, your email address will NOT be added to this list.

Thank you,


Firm Name

The contact must click on the link or reply before he will be added to your email marketing list. Otherwise, he is “inactive”/grayed out in CRM and won’t receive future marketing emails. Their contact record is still listed in the leads reports.

After he clicks the link in the confirmation email, he will receive a confirmation “thank you” page telling him he’s successfully joined the list. Then the contact receives the information he requested: the offer, newsletter, or another item.

Permission Must Be Granted

All recipients need to opt-in to your list. The first step to building a successful list is to get permission from subscribers who want to receive your campaigns. Obtaining permission is not only common courtesy; it’s required by our Terms of Use.

Permission is express, verifiable consent to receive marketing communication. With our double opt-in signup forms, we track the date and time of each visitor who clicks the opt-in link on your confirmation email. This process proves your permission is verified.

Consequences of Not Having Permission

People who haven’t given you permission to market to them are more likely to report your campaigns as spam, and less likely to engage with your campaigns or make purchases. It’s in your best interest to always secure express permission.

Spam reports can lead to aggressive spam filtering or blacklisting, which makes it impossible for some subscribers to receive any of your campaigns. This can also damage Foster Web Marketing’s email reputation as a whole and negatively affect delivery for all our users.

How to Use Double Opt-in for Offline Subscribers

  • Have a tablet at your event or in your office: Load your form on the tablet and have visitors and guests subscribe and join your list. Then when they check their email later, they’ll have a confirmation email waiting.
  • Paper forms: Send an email to your signups with a link to your newsletter signup form. The email should remind the person how they signed up to the list and offer them a chance to opt in electronically. After they fill out their forms and confirm their subscriptions via email, we’ll add them to your list. Again, all of this activity will be tracked behind the scenes, so you’ll have that important proof of permission.

Lists Must Be Obtained Organically

We don’t allow our users to send marketing emails to purchased, rented, scraped, or stolen lists of email addresses. The CRM is designed for you to send newsletters, updates, and other types of communication to opted-in subscribers and customers. If you have a list of prospective subscribers to whom you’d like to send marketing emails, you can invite them to join your list. Once they’ve opted in, you’re ready to start sending!

Subscribers who are imported into the DSS CRM, don’t go through the double opt-in process. We require you to attest to the following:

1.The uploaded list was NOT purchased, rented, or scraped.

2.The uploaded list is NOT a list of members of an association, trade show vendors, fellow industry members, etc.

3.The uploaded list was NOT acquired from a third party.

4.The emails on the uploaded list requested to be added as subscribers within the last six months.

5.I have proof the uploaded list provided permission for me to send marketing emails to them.

The Bottom Line for Email Marketing

Users have to say “yes, I want to receive marketing emails from you.”

What Are the Risks of Non-Compliance?

Spam Reports

When someone reports an email as spam, their inbox notifies their Internet service provider (ISP) that the message in question looks suspicious. The ISP then tracks how many people on their network report emails from the sending domain as spam.

Unfortunately, 20 percent of email users report that they mark emails as spam that they know aren’t spam. Some of these spam reports may actually be attempts to unsubscribe. An unsubscribe link is included in every email sent from the CRM to reduce the number of spam reports.

Studies show 43 percent of email users will report spam if they don’t recognize the sender’s “from name” or “from email address.” Make sure these labels are clearly tied to your brand, and send campaigns regularly so subscribers don’t forget who you are. You should always include a permission reminder in your campaign footer.

Your recipients are also more likely to mark your emails as spam if they’re not familiar with your company. Studies show 43 percent of email users will report spam if they don’t recognize the sender’s “from name” or “from email address.” Make sure these labels are clearly tied to your brand, and send campaigns regularly so subscribers don’t forget who you are. You should always include a permission reminder in your campaign footer.


If enough people mark your campaigns as spam, the ISP can blacklist you. When that happens, any message you send to anyone on their network will be blocked. ISPs have different thresholds for blacklisting, but they tend to be very low. A few spam reports could get you blocked. Once you’re on a blacklist, it’s very difficult to get yourself removed.

A few complaints can derail your email marketing for a long time, so it’s critical to ensure your subscriber lists are permission-based and that your permission doesn’t go stale.

Permission Goes Stale

When someone opts in to your list, it’s a good idea to send materials to them on a semi-regular basis. Permission tends to go stale after about six months, even if the subscribers were added through a double opt-in process at one time. If the last time you sent to your list was more than six months ago, reconfirm your list.

Inactive subscribers are people who don’t open and click your campaigns. You can send a re-engagement campaign. If you’re not sure where to start, browse for examples of successful re-engagement campaigns from many different industries. If your inactive subscribers remain inactive, consider removing them.

Reconfirming Your List

Tell your subscribers you’re going to start sending emails again and explain why they should stay on the list.

Here’s an example:

"Hi [First Name],

Remember us? You visited our website, [], back on [date] and signed up for our email newsletter. We’ve set up an email newsletter program, and we want to ensure you want to hear from us. Every month or so, our newsletter will include useful how-to’s, tips, and advice.

If you want to stay on our list, click here to renew your subscription. If you’re not interested, simply ignore this message.


[Firm Name]”

Account Suspension

If your recent campaign receives spam complaints, we take note. We will contact you and give you details on how to fix the situation.

How DSS Helps to Protect Your Email Reputation

You are given a list rating. Emails are scored based on their engagement—your score goes up when subscribers open and click your campaigns. Your score goes down when an email bounces or a contact unsubscribes or files an abuse complaint. DSS compares your email reputation to all other lists in the system and gives you a relative score. This will help you recognize when emails are getting too “spammy.”

We provide a spam filter tester tool. This shows you which items in your campaign may cause emails to be flagged as spam. Here are some ways you can avoid being flagged as spam:

  1. Do not send image-only emails.
  2. For every graphic, include at least two lines of text.
  3. Optimize your images.
  4. Avoid large attachments; attach only JPG, PNG, GIF, and PDF.
  5. Don’t use ALL CAPS and don’t use multiple exclamation points!!!
  6. Use no more than three font styles and colors. REMEMBER: hyperlinks and bolding use two.
  7. Don’t use one-word subject lines
  8. Avoid spam trigger words and phishing phrases

The Benefits of Double Opt-in/Confirmed Opt-in

  • Increased engagement as your subscribers REALLY want to hear from you, which translates into more opens and clicks and fewer unsubscribes and email bounces.
  • Lower chances of having spam complaints made against your mailings.
  • Elimination of the possibility that an erroneous or problematic address may be added to your list, i.e., someone signing up with a spam trap or somebody else’s address, thus “poisoning” your list.
  • Improvements in your deliverability rate. Mail to those contacts who confirm is sent from special mail servers and IP addresses that are very rarely blocked.
  • Since confirmed opt-in (COI) has become more prevalent and accepted within the past two years, your contacts will not be surprised by the confirmation email.
  • COI is favorably viewed by the general ISP and receiving community.
  • Confirmed opt-in is not only useful for growing a list, it’s also very useful for maintaining a list. There are times when you may want to confirm an existing single opt-in list, to ensure it is still current.

These terms of use are in place to make marketing better for everyone—the CRM users, your business, and particularly your subscribers. If you have any questions or concerns about the terms of use, please feel free to give us a call at 888-886-0939 so we can discuss your views.

Tom Foster
Connect with me
Founder|Owner, Speaker, Creator of DSS, World of Marketing Podcast Host, EOS Implementor