When sending invitational emails that are “peer initiated” you need to be very careful as you can quickly degrade you delivery due to either abuse by your users or getting carried away with trying to grow your audience. Since CAN-SPAM essentially says peer initiated are OK (albeit this was before web mail address books were being scraped as a daily basis), we’ve asked our clients to follow our best practices and we ask that if you are doing them yourselves that you do as well. It will improve your chances of delivery into the inbox, and you won’t be alienating people and degrading your domain! Peer initiated emails should adhere to the following requirements:

  1. Emails must clearly declare in the pre-header and footer that they are a peer initiated and show the address they were initiated by along with easy access to the global unsubscribe link
  2. Subject lines must be clear about the purpose of the email
  3. Emails should contain mailing address, and links to the privacy policy and terms of use
  4. The privacy policy must clearly state that you will not use email addresses from your user’s address book other to send the requested peer initiated email
  5. Within the site UI where the user provides details to log into their web addressbook, their must be a notice that you will not be storing usernames, passwords or email addresses other than for the imminent use along with a link to the pricacy policy
  6. The From address must be that of the customer service address for the website (the reply-to can be that of the requester)
  7. The interaction with the user on the site must clearly indicate that emails are being sent on their behalf.
  8. Sensible limits should be imposed so that people are not sending to their entire gmail address book which could be 2000+

We provide GetConnect as a service to grow communities and websites, but we are very strict at maintaining good standards.