First of all, no one detests spam more than I do! I have always completely supported Dreamhost’s efforts toward keeping DH free of spammers, but I think maybe it needs to be looked at a bit more carefully.
This poster’s situation seems to be tough one, IMHO A careful reading of the DreamHost Spam Policy makes me realize that DH makes some assumptions regarding “bulk mailings” that are not very realistic, especially when it comes to “announce only” or “newsletter” type bulk maililngs.
For example, one of my clients is a member of a largish trade organization that requires a “paper” application be submitted in order to join. Having dealt with this issue in the past, the organization recently required all members to submit new paper applications that had two very clearly worded selection boxes regarding the members option on receiving communications.
One said, “Check here if you do not wish to receive FAX and email communications from other **** Members and **** Business Partners.” and the other said, " Check here if you do not wish to receive FAXes and emails from SCAA."
The organization then publishes for it’s members lists that either contain the email and fax numbers or do not contain the email and fax numbers, depending upon how the individual member’s boxes were checked.
Members who have elected to receive emails and faxes from other members expect and want to receive such communications. These applications are kept on file (hardcopy, no less), and are used by the organization to support members who run afoul of spam allegations with a service provider.
Other than the organization making the application available in the defense of an alleged instance of UCE, I’m not sure how this is any different than the kind of list the original poster claims to have had. Dreamhost’s policy seems to presume that there is no legitimate way to “subscribe” except electronically (given the text regarding Date, Time, IP addres, etc to support the subscription).
In some businesses, the world does not revolve around electronic communication, adn I think there ought to be a way to “subscribe” without logging an IP address, such as via a letter, form, etc.
Under Dreamhost’s stated policy, I’m not sure that a site owner who receives a letter saying, “Please add me to your mailing list,” is safe to do so…even if he keeps the letter for back up. This seems overly strident and a bit unfair to those trying to host small business sitres at DreamHost.
Obviously we don’t know what the full circumstances are/were in this case, but as a result of this post I have declined to use the DreamHost maillist software to allow allow my client to send his newletters…and, given the situation I just described, it is likely to be a “deal breaker” for this client and Dreamhost. This guy feels it is unreasonable on Dreamhost’s part to prevent him from communicating with his fellow association members in this way, and I see his point.
I’d hate to think that, having gone to all the trouble to make sure his list is “clean”, he could be terminated without warning or opportunity to defend himself by presenting the hard copy evidence of the recipient’s willingness to receive the email.