We’ve updated our products to allow our clients to be compliant with CASL (Canadian Anti Spam Law).
We take CASL and our client’s need to comply very seriously.
We have included the specifics for those of you who want all the details. It is a long read but this is a significant topic.
The short version…
myRealPage’s provides a service that allows for the capture of consumer’s contact information. The purpose of this information capture is to allow consumers to utilize the VOW and MLS search software on our client’s website. Including self subscribed email notification of new or changed listings matching the consumers search criteria.
myRealPage offers no commercial electronic marketing services as defined by CASL.
Any use of this contact information by myRealPage clients outside of the intended purpose of the VOW is the responsibility of the Realtor.
If using consumers contact information outside of your myRealPage website or listing solution it is your responsibility to remain compliant with relevant laws and regulations.
Read below for expanded details.
Consumer chooses to register for a VOW account. Provides contact info and a password.
A consumer chooses to create a VOW (Virtual Office Website) account by providing their contact information via an online form.
The form offers consumers the option to agree to receive emails specific to listings matching criteria they have chosen and/or other real estate related topics. Or neither.
By including the option to receive additional non VOW listing related emails it allows Realtors to gain this additional permission.
It is important to note NO check boxes will be pre checked. All check boxes agreeing to receive email MUST be manually checked by the consumer.
A confirmation email is sent to the email address used during sign up. The consumer must confirm the creation of the VOW account.
A consumer registering for a VOW account would have a difficult time claiming that it was not clear what they were agreeing to and that they had not opted to receive emails from the Realtor if they had done so.
The Terms of Service will be updated to explain the unsubscribe process.
Information provided at the time of submission from a user who is 18 years of age or over may be used for marketing and promotional purposes by us.
“To keep you in control of your personal information and the communications directed to you, we allow you to opt-out of receiving communications from us in every email sent. You may also opt out by email or telephone as listed on our website. Please include your name, email address and phone number so we can ensure we update the correct records.”
VOW Account Extensions
The maximum number of days before a VOW account will expire is 180. Various boards may require a shorter time frame and will be set based on the Realtor’s board requirement.
Two ways the VOW account can be extended. A consumer logging in after the expiry date will be told their account has expired and offered the chance to extend. Or the Realtor may extend it manually on their behalf. Neither changes whether the consumer receives emails. The original settings as chosen by the consumer remain as they set them.
The law requires all contact information acquired to be stored and pass the test of consent upon audit. The following information as required by CASL is recorded in your myRealPage Private Office:
Whether consent was received in writing or orally – VOW sign ups are in writing
When it was obtained – the registration is time stamped and is visible to the Realtor
Why it was obtained – we only store contact info for VOW sign ups. We also note which, if any, email types they have agreed to receive.
The manner in which it was obtained – VOW sign ups are by electronic form
Consumer can save searches to receive listing notifications by email.
The consumer executes a search on your website and has the option to save the search. While saving they may choose to receive email notifications of new listings or changes to listings matching their criteria by checking the appropriate box.
The system emails the consumer new listings. Which they have explicitly agreed to.
The email offers two options to unsubscribe in two locations. They can unsubscribe to emails specific to that search or all emails relating to their VOW account.
It is very clear to the consumer how they can unsubscribe.
If a consumer replies to a VOW email asking to be unsubscribed you would need to unsubscribe them manually.
You can do so by using the link in the email they have replied to. Scroll down to the original email and click it as if you were them.
If they send their unsubscribe request in a way other than replying to a VOW email you will need to edit their profile in your Private Office. Here is an article explaining how to do so:
Emails Must Include All Contact Info Of The Sender
The emails sent by the VOW account will list the name of the person sending the email, name of your brokerage and a phone number that you can be reached at. You should add the address where you can be reached. You will have to do this manually. Just edit the various VOW emails in the “Customize VOW Emails” section in your Private Office.
Realtor’s Creating VOW Accounts On Behalf Of Consumers
If Realtors choose to create a VOW account on behalf of a consumer without proper consent they are doing so at their own risk.
The email confirmation email that is sent to verify the VOW account to the consumer is in violation of CASL if the Realtor does not have explicit consent.
This is no different than sending a consumer any other email or adding them to a mailing list without their prior permission as defined in CASL.
All Contact Info Acquired via VOW Registration Is Stored In Your Private Office
Realtors can access, review and/or import all the information acquired via VOW registration from their Private Office.
It will be clear in the Private Office if the consumer has agreed to be emailed and for what purposes. VOW emails, the additional emails or both.
If a Realtor chooses to use this information for anything other than what the consumer has agreed to, they do so at their own risk.
Maintaining Accurate Consent Records
If you are exporting your list to other software or tools.
Consumers that have agreed to receive additional email may then opt out via other means or 3rd party tools. This will not be reflected in your Private Office.
You will need to manually edit their profile in your Private Office.
Examples would be tools for email marketing software, marketing automation, drip campaigns etc.
This is the norm when using a collection of third party tools. Rarely do they communicate with each other regarding unsubscribes
For example you are using Mail Chimp for your monthly email newsletter. A consumer unsubscribes from your newsletter via Mail Chimp. You need to decide if you want your lists in the Private Office to reflect them opting out of additional emails.
It comes down to where you want your most accurate list. Our suggestion is to choose one tool and maintain your list there.
As our tool designed to power the VOW search tools and not manage marketing lists. There are better options for this.
Again this only matters if you are exporting your lists to other tools.
Existing Contacts in VOW
We will not be offering a way for Realtors to email all VOW users to confirm they still wish to receive emails. VOW accounts were created in compliance with CASL.
Consumers provided explicitly consent at the time of creating their accounts and saved searches. All VOW accounts expire after a maximum 180 days further reducing the risk of complaint.
However, these contacts have not agreed explicitly to receiving additional emails beyond VOW listings. This was not an option at the time they created their accounts. When viewing these existing contacts in the Private Office they will be marked as having NOT opted to receive additional emails.
Custom Form Weblet
Realtors may use the custom form weblet to collect information from users of their website.
The Realtor receives an email indicating which form was used, a time stamp and the information gathered via the form.
The Private Office does not store this information. It is emailed to the Realtor. If the Realtor chooses to migrate this information to a database and use it for marketing purposes the onus is on Realtor to ensure they do so accurately and in compliance with CASL. myRealPage is not responsible for any aspect of custom forms and the information gathered.
With these changes we have ensured our system complies with CASL. Any actions taken by Realtors exclusive of the VOW emailing is their responsibility.