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E-mail marketing: legal limitations in Germany and UK?
Thread poster: Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI

Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 10:11
Member (2008)
English to Czech
Apr 26, 2008

Hello,

please can anyone tell me where can I find more information (or even better share it directly) about how is the e-mail marketing limited in Germany and UK?

If I decide to contact some companies in these countries that might be interested in translations into my native language, am I allowed to send a direct offer/profile, or do I need a permission from them first?
(There would also be an additional question then if calls are or are not better - more effective in the end - than e-mails for the first approach.)

In my country, you have to ask (can be done via e-mail) the potential client - probably just with some general info that you are a translator - if it is OK for them to receive a specific offer.

Thanks!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Universal spam rules Apr 27, 2008

Tomas2007 wrote:
Where can I find more information ... about how is the e-mail marketing limited in Germany and UK?


I doubt if the laws in Germany and the UK are relevant to you if you post from the Czech Republic... unless the EU has some arrangement that makes the laws of member states binding on people living in other member states. The recipient of your spam may be in the UK, but your act of spamming takes place in your own country, therefore your own country's spam laws would apply. But IANAL.

In my country, you have to ask (can be done via e-mail) the potential client - probably just with some general info that you are a translator - if it is OK for them to receive a specific offer.


The laws in my own country is that you can send anyone unsolicited e-mail, but if it is of a commercial nature, you have to (a) say who you are, (b) tell them where you got their address, and (c) tell them how they can ensure that you don't send them mail again.

I think a combination of what you said and what I just said may be a good start for setting some "universal" spam rules. Tell me what you think, but I think the universally compliant spam message would contain the following:

* A very short introduction of yourself, saying who you are and what you do (the solicitation).
* A statement about where you got their e-mail address.
* A request to send more information about your services (the opt-in).
* A statement of how they can get off your mailing list (the opt-out).
* A full signature with minimal marketing info but reasonably comprehensive contact details.

So an example might be:

================================

Dear Sir/Madam

My name is Tomáš Mosler and I'm a freelance translator from the Czech Republic. I translate documents from English into Czech. I see you are a manufacturer of widgets, and I thought you might be interested in hearing about my services. If you want, I can send you my résumé and a brochure detailling my translation services.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Tomáš Mosler

--
(your name again)
(your address and phone number)
(your web address and e-mail address)

PS. I found your name at www.widgets.cz, that mentions you as Chief of Marketing. If you wish to receive no further mails from me, simply reply with such a request.

================================

That would be about as safe as you can get, I think. But IANAL.


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Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:11
Member (2003)
French to English
Business Link UK Apr 27, 2008

Business Link (www.businesslink.gov.uk) in the UK is an invaluable support of business advice and there's a useful-looking article on their website here:

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?r.l1=1073861169&r.l3=1073902327&type=RESOURCES&itemId=1074438276&r.l2=1073858842&r.s=sc

Hope this helps.

Best,

Karen


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Very interesting, Karen Apr 27, 2008

Karen Stokes wrote:
Business Link (www.businesslink.gov.uk) in the UK is an invaluable support of business advice and there's a useful-looking article on their website here...


Very interesting, Karen. In fact, I was surprised to learn that one stipulation of UK law is the exact opposite of that of my country's laws. In the UK:

"It is illegal to reveal recipients' details on any emails."
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?r.l1=1073861169&r.l3=1073919418&type=RESOURCES&itemId=1073791469&r.l2=1073858845&r.s=sc

Whereas in my country, it is illegal not to reveal recipients' details (or rather, not to reveal where you got their addresses from, which usually also reveals who they are).


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Carolin Haase  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:11
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Self-marketing Apr 28, 2008

Hi Tomas,

presently I am reading a book about self-marketing in general (by a German author, there is no translation, at least I didn't find any) and he states (or proves, from his experience) that telephone marketing is much too costly and time consuming and that e-mails are often deleted unread. He opts for the oldfashioned letter by snail mail. This should contain a nicely written, interesting text about yourself, what you sell, how you sell it, how you came about to selling it and that you would like to work with him. You get the idea. Nothing fancy, actually. Although it sounds really simple, it probably isn't. But: you don't violate any spamming rules and it's a more personal approach than just an email.


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xxxhazmatgerman
Local time: 10:11
English to German
Re Carolin Haase Apr 28, 2008

Agree with Haase's proposals, and for the reasons given. Would add that under German law meaningful electronic mail should be sent only when a business relationship with the addressee already exists. From a marketing p. o. v. I'd elaborate on the customer's interest and what you could do to further them, rather than stressing your vita.
Important: research your customer's business activities before contacting him, so you'll be able to know what you can contribute to his business interests.
Good luck.


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Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 10:11
Member (2008)
English to Czech
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you May 3, 2008

Thanks to everyone for valuable information and suggestions!

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Alex Eames
Local time: 09:11
English to Polish
+ ...
I don't think it's illegal to use data in individual emails May 13, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

Very interesting, Karen. In fact, I was surprised to learn that one stipulation of UK law is the exact opposite of that of my country's laws. In the UK:

"It is illegal to reveal recipients' details on any emails."
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?r.l1=1073861169&r.l3=1073919418&type=RESOURCES&itemId=1073791469&r.l2=1073858845&r.s=sc

Whereas in my country, it is illegal not to reveal recipients' details (or rather, not to reveal where you got their addresses from, which usually also reveals who they are).


I think what they mean there Samuel is that if you are sending an email out as CC to many people you are giving out each person's email address to all the others and that violates the Data Protection Act. Hence their suggestion to use BCC (which we all know is a stupid idea). Much better to use a mailer program specifically designed for customised email merging.

I'm pretty sure it's not illegal to do what you suggest Samuel.

Alex Eames
http://www.translatortips.com/
helping translators do better business


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