The rules, which are very similar to ones proposed in August, state that e-mail messages that contain just ads are commercial, while those that contain solely "transactional or relationship" messages--such as, for example, information about the status of an online order--will not be considered commercial.
But what about e-mail messages with both commercial content and other content--either transactional or editorial? For those mixed e-mails, the decision about whether it's commercial depends in part on whether the consumer receiving the e-mails would reasonably interpret them as commercial.
"It's still a standard based on the reasonable view of the recipient," said Jerry Spiegel, a partner at the New York law firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz. "There's enough wiggle room in all of this for argument and dispute."