One person opts-out, they all opt-out.

The key take-away for Australian companies is that an email account, regardless of the number of people using that email account, must be treated as one. One person opts-out, they all opt-out.


A key lesson all marketers should take from the Woolworths case is to NOT ASSUME that a single email being shared by multiple people can be managed by a CRM or similar system as multiple profiles.

The ACMA ruling is clear – an opt-out request captured by a person with access to a shared email address applies to everyone with access to that shared email address.  

If your data model reflects the Woolworths scenario, this blog post will explore contact data models and ideas about baseline data processes you may wish to consider for your business. 

Woolworths hit with record $1 million fine for spamming customers

“Groceries giant Woolworths has been slapped with a record fine after breaching spam laws more than 5 million times and ignoring repeated consumer requests to unsubscribe from its marketing mailing lists.”

“The Australian Communications and Media Authority has found the supermarket giant unlawfully spammed more than 1.2 million customers between October 2018 and July 2019.”*

*SOURCE: July 1, 2020 — 11.45pm

What went wrong at Woolworths?

From the Sydney Morning Herald article we read: “In a statement, Woolworths apologised for the breaches, blaming “technical and systems issues” for many of the problems.

“We respect the right of our rewards members to choose how and when we communicate with them and apologise for failing to act on all unsubscribe requests as required under the law,” said Amanda Bardwell, managing director of WooliesX, the supermarket chain’s digital, e-commerce and customer services arm.”*

“Subsequent breaches occurred because we continued sending communications to email addresses shared by multiple rewards members, where only one member had made an unsubscribe request.

While we were acting on unsubscribe requests from individual rewards members, we did not assume it meant other members sharing that email address had to be opted out as well.“*

*SOURCE: July 1, 2020 — 11.45pm

Our top 5 tips for Eloqua customers

  1. Seek clarification from your in-house counsel to understand your legal obligations in connection with the Australian Spam Act 2003
  2. You need to understand your current opt-in and opt-out processes. Go through the process yourself ensuring the CX is as planned
  3. Use Eloqua Email Groups to help manage subscriptions. Ensure Email Footers match Email Groups and your Preference Centre
  4. Make some time to familiarise yourself with the EU’s GDPR. It’s our opinion that Australia will follow the European Union with similar GDPR style legislation
  5. Determine how many shared email addresses you have in your CRM or source systems feeding into Eloqua

Is your Contact data model built to meet the ACMA standards?

The two views outlined below illustrate typical relationships between an email address and one person, or multiple persons i.e. a shared email address.

CRM view of the world

4 CRM Contacts

Multiple preferences & subscriptions captured against each of the 4 Contacts.

A B2B shared Email Account:

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1 CRM Contact

A single set of preferences & subscriptions captured against a single Contact.

An individual Email Account

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2 CRM Contacts

Two sets of preferences & subscriptions captured against each of the 2 Contacts.

A B2C shared Email Account:

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The ACMA view of the world (or just Australia)

Any number of CRM Contacts

The ACMA view of the world sees each email address/email account as a single set of preferences & subscriptions, regardless of the number of people using that email account and regardless of how you choose to associate various subscriptions and preferences when people are using a shared email account.

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A B2B shared Email Account:

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An individual Email Account

Female Male couple outline 500x287pxl

A B2C shared Email Account:

Is it time to review your CRM Lead/Contact data model?

In the world of B2C marketing, it’s reasonably common for couples to share an email address. In the world B2B marketing we see shared email accounts like

It’s clear, from the infringement notice delivered to Woolworths by the ACMA, that treating each person separately,  when they’re using a shared email account, is a risky way to manage data in context of the SPAM Act 2003. Specifically the breach relates to the unsubscribe or opt-out process

Your CRM configuration may appear to be doing a great job, but is it leading you head first into a SPAM Act breach infringement?

Generally speaking, a CRM platform has no issue with duplicates. The same email address can be added to as many Leads or Contacts as you need, no problem.

Some email marketing platforms will also allow a single email address to be associated to multiple contacts. In line with Australian SPAM Act legislation, Oracle CX Marketing Eloqua does not. Out-of-the-box Eloqua uses the email address as the unique identifier. This ensures greater integrity when managing the opt-in and opt-out for a unique email address.

We contacted ACMA, here’s their response…


“Thank you for contacting the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on 2 July 2020 about unsubscribe requirements under Australia’s spam rules.

The ACMA is not able to give legal advice on individual matters. However, we can provide general information about Australia’s spam rules.

As you are likely aware, under the Spam Act 2003 (Spam Act), commercial electronic messages must include a way for the recipient to unsubscribe or opt out to stop receiving messages. The unsubscribe must be clear and obvious, must be functional for at least 30 days after the message was sent, and be at low cost or no cost to the recipient. Requests to unsubscribe must be actioned within five business days.”

Their response continued….

“For information about withdrawing consent and relevant account holders, you may wish to refer to Section 3 of Schedule 2 of the Spam Act here.

“You may also find it useful to read about recent enforcement action we have taken against Woolworths. You can find the media release here.”

Clients often ask for our advice, here’s our response.

My first response is to always direct clients to their in-house counsel. Getting your opt-in & opt-out process wrong can mean significant financial penalties i.e. the recent Woolworths example.

On the positive side, Eloqua has a robust process to manage your local legal requirements. The EU’s GDPR is a good example of how Oracle builds systems to support their global clients. 

Eloqua & Preference Management | Webinar Replay

Preference management is the ability to communicate with customers at the time and on the channels they prefer.

It’s a way to enhance your CX and provide more relevant and timely communications. The management of Subscriptions is easily actioned by Eloqua.

This Eloqua User Group replay provides tips and considerations for implementing preference management, managing new segments and the impact preference management will have on future campaigns.


ACCC sues Google over changes to consumer data collection & consent

Tess Bennett WHICH-50/ July 27, 2020

“ACCC is taking legal action against Google, alleging it didn’t have the correct form of consent from millions of Australians consumers when it began combining their internet browsing activity with their Google account data in 2016. 

The consumer watchdog has today launched Federal Court proceedings against Google alleging the search giant misled Australian consumers to obtain their consent to expand the scope of personal information that Google could collect and combine about consumers’ internet activity, which could then be used to serve targeted ads.”