At the end of the day, yes, cold email is legal
The legalities of it may vary depending on location.
For instance, the US has the CAN-SPAM Act
, which provides leeway for “transactional” or “relationship” messages from businesses. It states that a commercial message is classified as spam if the “header information…is materially false or materially misleading”. Essentially, if the “from” line, email address, domain name, or IP address is false or misleading.
Additionally, a misleading subject line, providing clarity that the message is an advertisement or solicitation, will also mark you as spam in their eyes.
If you follow correct practices and are straightforward about your intent and how you will go about providing commercial value to your recipients, you should be in the clear.
In the EU, GDPR
’s laws around data privacy are a bit stricter, but they do provide room for the practice of cold email. Individuals have to give consent to their data being processed, used, or distributed for more than one purpose. As soon as they opt out for any reason, their email must be purged from servers.
You’ve probably come across this if you’ve filled out a form for an EU company that included ticking off a box that stated you consented to your data being used.
Other countries may have other rules, however, the leeway provided here demonstrates that cold email is not going anywhere. It is a recognizable and accepted form for selling, and they’ve made room for it.
For any further legal questions you may have, we encourage you to speak directly with a lawyer.