In an article called "New Email Marketing Rules in the European Union: One Year Later", Mattias Durnik explores the state of email marketing in the EU a year after the last European Union member states implemented Article 13 of the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications -- the so-called "Opt-In Directive."
The first paragraph of this Article 13 states that sending commercial email messages is only allowed if recipients have given their prior consent, but in reality it's a very soft approach to opt-in because of the many exemptions that make it possible to send marketing messages via email without having to first ask for permission. However, because of the exemptions that are supposed to make it easier for companies to conduct traditional, unsolicited direct marketing via email, in reality email marketers are now forced to adopt a stricter opt-in policy than ever before.
In this article, Mattias Durnik takes a close look at the directive and what it says about email marketing in Article 13 and explains why it has made email marketing more complicated in Europe.
He concludes by saying that "the only alternative that will guarantee that a marketer will not violate any of the exemptions of Article 13 is to go full opt-in, regardless of whether we are talking marketing to consumers or businesses" and he explains: "sending email marketing messages only to those who give permission to receive them is not about being nice or overly afraid of breaking any laws; it is about being a savvy marketer with a goal to generate the best possible results. But the nice side effect of opt-in only email marketing is that apart from helping marketers achieve their marketing objectives effectively and giving customers what they are interested in, it minimizes the risk of breaking any national opt-in laws within the EU".