Legal ResourcesYou’ve Got Mail: European Court of Justice on Inbox Advertising

December 3, 20210

Did you notice any particular feature, which was different from the regular e-mail content, the last time you checked your inbox ?  

Inbox Advertising 

Images in the form of a normal email – visible in the same line as the standard mail-content in your inbox – are one of the forms of online marketing, or in other words ‘advertisements’ (Ads). 

Ads have one common feature: promotion. Their purpose is either to make a public announcement, or to promote a specific product, service, or event.

In principle, an ad is a projection of your online behaviour. 

How does it work?

Google hasn’t sponsored this post (yet), but we will take it as an example since it’s the world’s most used search engine. 

Google Chrome is your go-to browser for a better search experience. G-mail and its extensions are your new e-working space. Anything you might be interested in, is one search away. All these commands are data in the language of Google algorithms, which retrieves and processes them for a better user experience. 

Google might show you ads based on your online activity. For example, if you search “employment in Albania,” you may see an ad on employment agreement while you’re visiting a site that shows Google ads. Do you know that Legit has an eGuide on employment in Albania? You can download it here. We only wanted to simplify your online research. 

Ads, Privacy Policy and Data Protection 

Google has a very strong Privacy Policy. It protects personal data by providing ads tailored to your needs, upon a previous consent. It might give sensitive information to third parties – such as your email address – only if you have previously agreed to it. 

Yet, you might find out-of-nowhere advertisements in your inbox. Is this legal?

Consent for inbox advertising is a fundamental principle elaborated by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Nov 26, 2021 in Case C-102/20. 

The Court ruled that the display of a form similar to that of real email falls within the concept of ‘persistent and unwanted solicitations’ upon the fulfillment of two conditions:

  • The display of ads is persistent, and
  • Ads are ‘unwanted’ in the absence of consent having been given by the user.
Why is Inbox Advertising so Important?

Inbox advertising is top-notch in the world of direct marketing. Direct Marketing Associations find it more effective to pitch potential customers using this type of marketing. According to them, an e-mail user is 10% more valuable than the regular online customer. 

Your business can be 100% more trustworthy if a legit privacy policy is tailored to the revenue growth plan, otherwise you might be subject to court proceedings. 

To that end, keep in mind the following legal takeaways:

  • Ads should not intruse users’ private lives.
  • Inbox marketing is allowed only when the recipient has given prior consent.
  • Consent should be indicated in a manifestation of a free, specific and informed wish from the recipient. 
  • Consent is crucial on communications for commercial purposes.

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