Bulk email rules and regulations

Hello all,
A friend of mine - and Dreamhost customer - recently had her email service shutdown by the Dreamhost admins. This occured because she sent out Christmas greetings to 60 recipients on her email list.
Despite stated rules allowing no more than 100 emails being sent from any address hosted here, they shut her down anyway, claiming this constituted a violation of their rules.
Has anyone else here been victimized this way, and if so, how was the situation resolved? My friend would like her service restored, but despite a long exhange with the admins, they still have not done so, saying they will not until she PROMISES not to ever do this again.
Merry christmas, I guess…I hope I don’t get shut down for saying it.

Are you sure that there wasn’t some other reason for her email service to be shut down? I would think it extremely unlikely that DreamHost would do such a thing unless a specific violation of their Terms of Service had been made. The outgoing email limit is monitored automatically, so it would be strange for it to kick in if she was under the limit.

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I won’t cut&paste the conversation here, but suffice it to say that Dreamhost did indeed shut down her email service on the basis of her sending 60 emails within one hour. They claim it was a “pre-emptive” action, saying that they did it not because of what she actually did, but what they believed she might do.
They further stated that they would reinstate her email IF she would state that she will not do it again, and IF she used an “opt-in” function, allowing only those recipients who specifically requested to receive email to be added to her mailing list for future “bulk” mailings.
To my mind, 60 emails, while a fairly large number in day-to-day mailing, doesn’t seem like an extreme number for a Christmas greeting, and I believe DH has acted in a bizarre and arbitrary fashion in blocking her email this way.

Again, I’m just curious if any other users have experienced this sort of thing.
I haven’t yet personally - but then I don’t have 60 friends…lol.

That is a key component of DreamHost’s emailing policy, and the omission of such was probably more serious than the number of emails she sent. Personally, I applaud DreamHost’s vigilance with respect to spam, and I can forgive them for getting a little overenthusiastic from time to time. I’m sure your friend will be able to work out her difficulties amicably.

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Well, my point is that she did not exceed - or even meet - the 100-recipient-per-hour threshold as stated in the DH rules. She sent 60 emails.
The rules DH posted also state that this 100/rph rule would need to be broken TWICE before such an action would be taken, and yet she was shut down after sending to 60 recipients ONCE.

Again, considering the time of year, the type of message (a Christmas greeting), and the fact that the stated threshhold was not met, I believe DH is acting arbitrarily and in fact in violation of their stated policy.

Incidentally, despite all of this, and despite assurances that my friend would not violate the rules in the future, DH has still not reinstated her email privileges.

Merr-r-r-ry Christmas, indeed.

Are you sure there’s not more to this than meets the eye? When you say that she sent this email out to 60 recipients on her email list, what list was this?

Also, did she include a reference to a website?

Remember that Dreamhost’s anti-spam policy is separate from their email limit policy. You don’t have to spam at a rate higher than 100 recipients per hour in order to be in violation of the anti-spam policy.

That said, I’m sure everyone here is very sympathetic to your problem and do hope that you can work it out amicably. Dreamhost is a reasonable group of generally friendly folks who are for a peaceful, spam-free life for everyone. :slight_smile:

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can we see what she sent?


This was a list of personal friends, family members, and acquaintances made through her work facilitating dog rescue.

There WAS a reference to a personal - non-commercial - webpage that she produces every year as a greeting card for her friends. I emphasize non-commercial - there are no expectations of any sort of reward on her part. It is strictly holiday-related material she creates using images of her dogs and those of her friends.
But in none of DH’s correspondence with my friend do they mention this as a reason for shutting down her email - they only state that she exceeded their recipient limit, which as noted is supposed to be 100 per hour.

What you’ve said sounds like a reasonable use. I’m sure that everything will get worked out to your satisfaction if you continue to work with Dreamhost support or the abuse department, as I have a great deal of confidence in their desire to do the right thing.

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It is really hard to speculate about what might have actually happened. I understand that you decline to post the exact particulars , and that you are a “third party” which could result in something being lost in translation.

I’d love to hear the full story from “your friend”. As has been pointed out before, the anti-spam conditions of the TOS may well have had as much to do with the “disablement” as the number of emails sent.

The nature of the email has a lot to do with it; I have gotten a lot of SPAM disguised as “Merry Christmas Greeting” - I’m sure you have too. I’d also like to know more about the site(s) mentioned in the email. Is it monetized in any way (adsense, etc.?).

Since you keep focusing on the “only 60 emails”, I’m, wondering if you, or your friend, have considered that, since the limit is 100 per hour, the actual problem may have been that the 60 emails plus whatever other email normally goes through that server from that user might have actually been over 100.

If anything on your friend’s site(s) sends email (mail a friend link, new post notifications, lost password, new user confirmation, etc.) it could very easily be that the “extra 60” pushed the actual usage over 100 per hour- that is very possible.

Again, I think you are likely focusing on the wrong issue. While I can’t know for sure, as I haven’t seen the DH notice or the email in question, I’m thinking it is more likely a spam issue that got DH’s attention than a quota issue, or that the “total” number of email was actually over 100 (of which the “60” was a part). :wink:

If their concern was actually what they consider to be the “spammy” nature of the email, they may have indeed mentioned the number sent on that one run but, if that is the case, that shouldn’t be taken to mean that the number alone is what caused the disablement.

Hopefully, by working through the issue with DH support, she will be able to get it all sorted as quickly as possible. :wink:


As it turns out, the discussion here is somewhat moot. My friend has decided to take her business elsewhere due to DH’s refusal to explain exactly what she had done to violate DH’s stated terms of service, as well as their refusal to reinstate her email, despite her promise not to violate any rules in future.

While DH repeatedly insisted that my friend abide by the rules, they equally consistently refused to state exactly what the rules actually ARE, since it is clear that the rules posted on this website are not being followed by DH.

I am also a customer, and while I have never had a reason to post 60 email messages at once, nor ever expect to, I feel badly for my friend, and feel that DH needs to take a good hard look at their rules, and perhaps determine that a “best practice” in the future would include being more transparent about what might constitute an infraction.

I have always recommended DH to friends and business associates, but I feel that they have acted unfairly here.

That’s all I have to add - the issue is closed for now.

I see. Sounds like the problem is likely resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. :wink:

Well, we will will never know about some of that, will we? I would bet that if there was “repeated” communication from DreamHost about the issue (“dreamhost repeatedly insisted that my friend abide by the rules”) that there was a real effort on their part to communicate with your friend.

I have not seen anything here so far that authoritatively, or convincingly, indicates DH “refused to state what the rules actually ARE”, and I have no way of knowing what you are referring to when you claim “the rules on this website are not being followed by DreamHost”. What website are you talking about? Between the published Terms Of Service, the Abuse Center clarifications, and the DH wiki, there should be no difficulty at all in determining what the rules are; there is considerable difficulty ascertaining from your story about your friend as to what actually happened.

Your most recent statement above that DreamHost “repeatedly insisted” your friend abide by the rules indicates to me that they made considerable effort to make sure she understood them.

I understand that you feel badly for your friend, but I don’t feel DreamHost has been less than totally “transparent” in any way. In fact, while they have gone to considerable lengths to detail what they consider to be an infraction (see the abuse center, anti-spam policy, and TOS), you have been considerably “less than transparent” with the details of your friend’s “situation”. That’s fine; but doesn’t make me inclined to believe you have accurately and completely detailed the circumstances. On the other hand, I have a long experience with DreamHost’s “transparency”, and am quite comfortable with them in that area. :wink:

That’s fair enough; we are all entitled to our opinions.

Merry Christmas!


Why not try using Google Apps for your emailing system ?

I’m using that google services and very happy so far.

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