The Continuous Fight for Legitimate Emails


Thursday, March 21st, 2013

:: Announcements

Dear Friends,

You may remember a time, years back (perhaps circa 2008), when 90% of the emails in your Inbox were spam and only about 10% of them were legitimate emails from the office or friends and family. I also remember having to create two separate email addresses during that time – one personal address that I would share with friends and family, and another address specifically to sign-up for e-newsletter and e-bill subscriptions. Interestingly enough, I’ve had both email addresses since 2008, and I must admit – I am pleasantly surprised at how little spam I receive. I expected my second email, designated for e-newsletters and e-bills, to fill up relatively quickly with emails I did not explicitly sign-up for. However, that has not been the case. So what has impacted this decrease of spam communication in the last four years?


Consumers have become increasingly aware of hints of spam and have become accustomed to hitting the spam button when they see an unsolicited commercial email. Here are some things to look for, courtesy of the Government of Canada. If the email:

  • Asks for sensitive information such as your address or bank information, it is a sign of spam. Not even your bank will ask you for this sort of information through electronic means of communication!
  • Impersonates companies or people you may know. When you know that your friend would call you, instead of writing you a one-liner email about how you knew each other in high school and want to reconnect, listen to your gut instincts – they’re most likely right!
  • Uses scare tactics such as pass this email on to at least 10 people or your account will be deleted. This is a ploy to gather as many email addresses as possible – don’t do it!
  • Asks for money in advance such as a $5 deposit before you will receive your $100 gift certificate. This is a ploy to receive your credit card information or other payment options you use.
  • Seems too good to be true. Emails such as “You win $1,000 – just send us your personal information!” Again, never give out your personal information electronically, even if it’s to a friend.
  • Spam Infographic:

    Spam Inforgraphic


    Canada released Best Practices for Email Marketing back in May of 2005 to complement the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which came into full effect on January 1, 2004 ). Businesses and organizations have since been adapting these best practices in their daily processes and e-marketing communications. This has established a positive example of what commercial or marketing emails should look like. Recommended best practices include:

  • Create a clear and transparent process for obtaining recipient consent;
  • Send emails only to recipients who have willingly provided their full consent;
  • Provide a web-based way for recipients to opt-out of receiving further email communications;
  • Clearly identify the sender, to be easily recognized by recipients;
  • Accurately reflect the purpose or content of each message in the subject line;
  • Provide a link to your organization’s privacy policy;
  • Establish a confidential, fair, and effective complaint-handling system.

    CASL was passed in December of 2010, and will come into force once approved by the Governor General – while this date is pending, the new expected date of enforcement is early 2014. This legislation is meant to regulate all forms of commercial electronic messaging including, email and text messages. Details on the CASL legislation and its impacts on commercial email messages by organizations can be found HERE.

    Spam was a bigger problem for Canadians in 2008 when the Cisco 2008 Annual Security Report ranked Canada fourth on its Spam by Originating Country list that year. However, as of December 18th 2012, Canada no longer makes the list of the 10 worst spam countries.

    We have seen a substantial decrease in spam communications over the last four years, and with the help of the CASL legislation to come into effect later this year, we hope to see this decrease even further. At Upaknee, we will continue to help fight the war against spam and help keep your inboxes spam-free.

    Until next time,
    The Upaknee Team

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