Is your business ready for Canada’s New Anti-spam law?

As an individual, the sound of a new law set up to protect you from spam and other electronic threats is a welcome one. Who doesn’t want protection from online threats on their electronic devices, the ability to better recognize spam, and the ability to even be able to avoid spam on mobile as well? Thanks to an upcoming law called the Canadian Anti-Spam Law, individuals living in Canada will now be able to be better protected against spam.

While this new anti-spam legislation is being set to go into effect on July 1, 2014, businesses and corporations need to begin working on ensuring that their policies and online dealings are compliant with this new law.

If your business performs any of the following actions in any way, then you should immediately begin preparing your policies to ensure that they are compliant with the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation:

  • Sends messages electronically to individuals either via email or through some other mode
  • Changes the destination of an electronic message a person sends
  • Or has computer programs that are installed by individuals

Understanding The Canadian Anti-Spam Law

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law is simply set out to better police the internet and ensure that individuals are kept safe from malicious attacks, personal information harvesting, and unwanted program installations. To ensure that your business is complying with the new Canadian Anti-Spam law, make sure that you thoroughly examine every interaction online with individuals and identify the areas where messages are being sent, information is being gathered, and/or programs are being installed.

Electronic Messages

If your business is sending out any commercial electronic messages that attempt to coerce the recipient to participate in an activity, then you need to ensure that this practice is compliant with the new law. Regardless of the fact that your message does, or does not, attempt to make any profit off of the action, consent must be obtained by the recipient prior to the message being sent.

After consent has been given by the recipient, the message being sent must also contain a clear option for individuals to decline any further participation in said messages. This ensures that a single consent does not allow a business to send hundreds of solicitations to an individual without giving them the option to withdraw that consent.

Program Downloads

Program downloads are a massive gateway to spyware and other malware on computers. Once installed, these programs can quickly take over a computer, or simply lurk in the background harvesting personal information without a person’s consent.

To protect individuals from businesses taking advantage people, and to better isolate malware, the new Canadian Anti-Spam Law has strict requirements set in place.

First off, a program can only be installed on a device after express consent has been given. This consent is only valid if:

  • The function of the program is clearly described
  • The program can be removed afterwards
  • There are clear instructions on how the consent can be withdrawn by the individual

A program needs to meet all of those requirements before obtaining express consent, however when there are updates, then consent does not need to be given after each update as long as there are no alterations into the original function of the program or how it interacts as new consent will need to be obtained.

Express Consent and Exceptions

Express Consent – Express consent is absolutely crucial to the new Canadian Anti-Spam law because it ensures that individuals are clearly notified what it is that they are receiving prior to getting it. Implicit consent and opt-out consent are no longer factors and a direct yes is absolutely necessary for business to obtain before sending messages and program installations.

Message Exceptions

  • Recipient was referred by someone
  • Warranty, safety, or security info needs to be sent regarding a product or service the person purchased
  • Information is sent to employee regarding their employment
  • Recipient requested a quote, estimate, or some other piece of information

Program Exceptions

  • Cookies, HTML, and Java Script are all considered something a user accepts based on their actions on the site already

Who Enforces the Canadian Anti-Spam Law?

The Canadian Anti-Spam law is enforced by the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission, or CASL. They not only investigate reports of violations, but they will legally pursue any business that violates the new Anti-Spam law legally and to the maximum extent possible for each individual violation.

What Happens If a Business Does Not Comply?

Non-compliance with the Canadian Anti-Spam law can result in huge monetary penalties along with many other injunctions, court offenses, and even negative publicity over the incident. The administrative monetary penalties of a violation set is up to $1 million for each violation if it is against an individual, or up to $10 million if the violation was against a business or corporation.

Since many businesses work on a larger scale with many customers and interactions, the amount of violations can easily be in the hundreds or even thousands. Once the CASL begins investigating a report of a violation, they can then obtain a warrant to search further if enough evidence is present.

If that search turns up more violations, a business can easily face hundreds of millions of dollars in fines thanks to this new Canadian Anti-Spam law that is set to go into effect in July. Fortunately, the hefty fine along with public shaming for each violation should be enough to spur any business into immediate compliance before this new law takes effect in early July.

Conclusion

Overall, the new anti-spam law puts more restrictions on businesses and how they interact with customers. Opt-out consent is no longer going to be acceptable which means that thousands of businesses need to begin altering their practices to make them compliant. A golden rule for this new law and compliance with it is:

If there is no exception for consent as previously stated in the law, then express consent must be obtained prior to any messages, downloads, or data transfer alterations.

Need help in preparing your business for CASL before July 1st, 2014?

To protect your business from being in harm’s way of this law, complete the form on this page to have a complimentary discussion with one of our certified CASL consultants

 

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Facebook for Businesses: Losers, Risk-Takers, and Winners. Where Do You Fit?

Facebook for Businesses

The best social media platform for businesses is Facebook. Are you using it effectively for your business?

Almost 16 years ago, the founder of Microsoft (Bill Gates) made an interesting statement. He said in the future there will be only two kinds of businesses: those with an Internet presence, and those with no business at all.

Today, I would modify that statement to say that in the future there will be only two kinds of businesses: those with a Facebook presence, and those with no business at all!

So why do companies need to be on Facebook in the first place? Well, here some real-life reasons of being on the blue social platform:

  1. Increase brand awareness and stay top-of-mind with customers and target audiences.
  2. Save on marketing spend. Yes, Facebook is totally free (except if you choose to advertise) and you can connect with all your potential and existing customers with a single ‘Status Update’ 24 hours, 7 days a week.
  3. Lead generation and promotions. Many companies enjoy constant amount of new enquires generated from Facebook. Those customers are easy to acquire and loyal due to the fact that they found you from Facebook word-of-mouth.
  4. Sales and business development. The concept of Socially Facilitated Selling has changed how business is done today. Now you need to be social and understand the buying cycle of your customers on Facebook.
  5. Customer service. If you want to do the bare minimum in being customer oriented and customer centred, then you need to be communicating with your customers thru their preferred channel, and today it is Facebook.
  6. Research and feedback on product or services. Facebook allows you to post questions and polls to get instant feedback from your target audience. The days of hiring a research firm to conduct surveys are gone forever.
  7. One last reason… Simply if you are not on Facebook, your competitors are. So guess what will happen in the long run if you don’t get in quickly. Most probably you will have lost this market space, and even if you move in late you will be playing a catch-up game.

Now that we have covered some of the most basic reasons why companies need to be on Facebook, let me show you 3 kinds of businesses that are using Facebook differently:

1) LOSERS: These are the companies that are just watching from a distance for the following reasons:

  • Afraid of things going wrong on the largest social platform, i.e. Facebook!
  • Lacking the knowledge of how to conduct business on Facebook: how to start, manage, and plan
  • Worried about their brand reputation, and the possibility that their fans might complain about their products or services
  • Unable to identify or measure the true ROI from starting and investing in Facebook
  • Ignorant! Yes, there are many companies that are simply comfortable with traditional media and resisting to change
  • They don’t have a clear idea of how to do business on Facebook

 2) RISK-TAKERS: A lot of companies are jumping into the Facebook bandwagon to get into the social conversation. Most of them suffer from excitement-withdrawal symptoms when they don’t get the expected results after spending time and effort on Facebook. Usually they experience most, if not all, of the following:

  • They have been attracted to the cool features on Facebook and try do nice things, but they find there is no tangible business benefit
  • They have not been able to break through the Facebook clutter and establish brand awareness
  • They have realized that Facebook takes a lot of time, and almost impossible to manage effectively without necessary resources
  • They have tried to promote their brand only to get a backlash and negative PR
  • They build a fan base, but they don’t know how to keep them engaged or what to do with it, or how to monetize it
  • Unable to answer the question of what their Facebook investment has added to their bottom-line?

 3) WINNERS: These companies have reacted to Facebook with a different mentality. They are a smart-crowd and tend to learn and invest in elevating their knowledge about Facebook before they do anything serious on it. The usually do the following:

  • Invest in themselves and their staff by educating and by attending social media courses
  • Join training workshops about Facebook, and involve their team members from all levels and functions
  • Develop a complete plan and strategy for Facebook before even touching the ‘Like’ button
  • Have a research and development process in place to monitor the competition and identify relevant benchmarks
  • Seek advice and consult with experts to avoid guesswork and negative results
  • Set clear business objectives and allocate the necessary resources to Facebook effectively

If you are really serious in helping yourself and your organization to make it in this Facebook-driven world, then I would highly recommend that you consider the winners approach. Do invest your time, and involve your team, in learning more about this powerful platform.

I have been asked by many companies and professionals to enhance their knowledge so that they and their organizations can succeed on Facebook. However, this requires commitment, as they need to be ready to learn! Therefore, I have worked with a global team of Facebook experts and developed a complete training and coaching program called “Facebook for Businesses“.

If you are interested in this program, then check out the details on WSI Academy website. I hope to meet with you soon (if you choose to become a winner) at the upcoming workshop where you will learn how to use Facebook for your Business.

Are you ready to know about the success strategy of Facebook for Businesses? Contact me for more details.

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Ecommerce in the Middle East is Exploding

Ecommerce in the Middle EastThe Middle East is the fastest growing region for Ecommerce sales Worldwide.

Many businesses are now considering to shift into ecommerce to tap into this wave and take advantage of the new market opportunity. Various industries are reaping the benefits of this growth faster than others, but eventually we will see a total change in the way businesses and consumers do business in the fruitful region.

Below is all what you need to know about the recent development with regards to Ecommerce in the Middle East:

Middle East and Africa Lag World in Online Purchasing

Middle East and Africa Lag World in Online PurchasingThe FINANCIALThe FINANCIAL — Business-to-consumer ecommerce sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), including sales of travel, digital downloads and event tickets, are growing faster than in an …

E-Commerce in the Middle East grew 300% in the Past Year

During Wamda’s COE (Celebration of Entrepreneurship) E-Commerce event taking place in Jordan today, Aramex COO Iyad Kamal gave a little bit of insight into how the company has witnessed the online payment landscape

Meet the International E-Commerce Contenders

The Middle East: Home of the luxury retail experience. E-Commerce in the Middle East is growing at an amazing rate. In 2011, customers in the region spent around $1.1 billion through the Internet. But by 2016, that spending

CNN Interview on E-Commerce in the Middle East

CNN Segment about the increasing role of Social Media in the Middle East featuring interviews with Mohammad Nour (founder & CEO of Shoutit) and Fadi Ghandour (founder & CEO of Aramex) www.shoutit.com

A Growing E-Commerce Opportunity in MENA

A Growing E-Commerce Opportunity in MENAWamdaIn a recent study, eMarketer estimates that while the Middle East and Africa is still the least developed region in e-commerce, sales in the region are growing faster than anywhere else in the world…

MEA Ecommerce Sales Soar

Online retail is growing faster in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region than in any other part of the world, new figures have indicated. Estimates from eMarketer suggest that the  …

Souq.com, the Middle East’s largest e-commerce 

Souq.com, the Middle East’s largest e-commerce site, has just announced the acquisition of Sukar.com, a private Middle East sales club founded two years ago. Sukar.com was one of the Middle East’s first private shopping

Innovation in the clicks & mortar retail in the Middle East

M.E :Ecommerce is not a part of the Middle East region’s culture, in the sense that people are more comfortable buying clothing and apparel off the store racks rather than punch in their credit card numbers online. There is a lot

Ecommerce in the Middle East | Radio Interview

Last week’s Dubai Eye radio #Unwired digital programme featured a special segment on ecommerce in the Middle East featuring Spot On PR’s Alexander McNabb; Rama Chakaki, Partner at Baraka Ventures

Are you ready for launching your Ecommerce in the Middle East?
Contact me for more details.

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Use of Social Media in Healthcare – Best Resources

Use of Social Media in HealthcareSocial Media is a powerful marketing channel for all industries, and especially for the healthcare industry. Use of Social Media in Healthcare proved to be an effective strategy for many organizations.

Below, you will find some of the best resources related to the use of Social Media in Healthcare. At the end of the post, you will be able to learn how to use Social Media in Healthcare…

Consumer use of social media in healthcare

Consumer use of social media in healthcare. Social media is becoming a bigger part of the collection of health information, but it varies by health condition and treatment options how patients use social channels during their

Farris Timimi, MD, Discusses the Role and Use of Social Media in Healthcare

“This isn’t an addition to your job. This is part of your job,” says Mayo Clinic cardiologist and Medical Director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media, Farris Timimi, MD, when discussing the role and use of social media in health care. “This is …

Social Media Gets an A+ For Use in Healthcare

Social Media Gets an A+ For Use in Healthcare. Social media has mostly been talked about in the negative when it comes to hospitals and healthcare organizations. Data breaches – Confidential records, with personal info like Social Security…

Healthcare Social Media: Time To Get On Board

Healthcare Social Media: Time To Get On BoardInformationWeekIn a recent interview with InformationWeek Healthcare, Hood said potential stumbling blocks include understaffing of the social media effort; clumsy use, namely using the wrong social media…

Social Media “Likes” Healthcare

Social Media Likes Healthcare is a PwC report providing insight into what some of the largest healthcare providers are doing in the social media landscape. Integrating social media data/analytics into the organization; Measuring the effectiveness/linking to ROI; Educating staff on how to effectively use social media; Keeping up with the pace of technology change; Responding to information identified via social media; Sharing of patient identifiable information/HIPAA

Are you ready to the use of Social Media in Healthcare industry?
Contact me for more details.

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LinkedIn for Businesses – Best Resources

LinkedIn for Businesses

LinkedIn is one of the most effective social media marketing channels for businesses. People do business with people, and LinkedIn is the largest social media network for business professionals on earth!

There are endless number of opportunities from using LinkedIn for businesses, such as for sales, business development, marketing, HR & recruitment, among many others. Below are some of the noticeable resources on why to use LinkedIn for Business. At the end of this post, you will have the chance to learn more:

LinkedIn For Business

LinkedIn for Business – It’s billed as the social network for professionals, but now LinkedIn is trying to be the viable social media option for businesses. LinkedIn for business LinkedIn for Business -The social network, with 120 million members wor…

Linkedin For Businesses and Professionals: How It Works

Linkedin for businesses and professionals has become a serious networking tool with over 150 million users. Learn from the experts about Linkedin by connecting with Local Pulse Marketing for Social Media Quick Start

How To Promote Your Business On LinkedIn

It’s a goldmine for businesses that need new connections. LinkedIn looks a lot like Facebook, but with a targeted audience that companies can take advantage of. The best part: many of the solutions for increasing the presence of your business on LinkedIn are free and easy to use.

2 Tips to Harness the Marketing Potential of LinkedIn

The social media network LinkedIn is often used by consumers as a way of marketing themselves for career purposes. However, unbeknownst to many businesses, the tool can also be used to raise marketing awareness and

10 LinkedIn Tips for Growing Your Business

LinkedIn is designed to better connect business professionals. These 10 profile tips will enhance your business networking with LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn to build business: Nine ideas

LinkedIn has over 161 million professional users in some 200 different countries, making it the ideal tool for savvy SMBs owners looking to build their business.

Are you ready to take full advantage of using LinkedIn for Businesses?
Contact me for more details.

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