Before I continue, I must stress that usually I adore Reverbnation and all of their wonderful tools and tips. Unfortunately the issue I’m about to describe has soured our relationship.
I went to send out the monthly newsletter on Sunday. Usually I have most people set up on a Gmail filter and I work from that, but some of my fans come from Reverbnation and have signed up through FanReach. So for them, I do a copy of the newsletter and send it out using the FanReach tool, as when people signup, I don’t get access to their email address. April’s newsletter was fine going out this way, but on May’s, I got a pop-up screen telling me that I have to add my ACTUAL PHYSICAL ADDRESS at the bottom. So I do this, imagining that it will be hidden on the final email.
Reverbnation have implemented a new rule that means that to use the FanReach tool, you must be prepared to put your actual address on an email to people who may or may not be strangers. There is no option to hide your address. You may, if you have one, use a PO box or a label address, but given many of us are unsigned, that’s not practical or possible. You may lie about your address, but this puts you in the position of having to lie to your fans, which I find extremely objectionable.
I emailed Reverbnation and they informed me that there is nothing they can do, they are obliged by law to do this because of the Internet Can Spam Act to prevent spam and so that people have the option to contact an artist physically by snail mail if there is an issue or to unsubscribe.
I argue that there are flaws in the design, namely that:
* The fans email address is never revealed to the artist, so there is no risk of spamming. In any case, bots can always work around such issues and frequently do.
* Fans can simply click to leave FanReach for a given artist.
* The Act in question has actually been around since 2003 and is in no way recent legislation
* It would be a simple matter for Reverbnation to require a physical address on joining and then keep it hidden, and implement a “contact me” button for fans to use.
In short, I am dismayed and upset that I can no longer use such a useful tool. And also, I now can’t send mailouts to those of my fans using FanReach. If you are one of those fans, please drop me an email on email@example.com with your email address and I’ll add you to the main list. I promise not to spam you.