Spam, but not really?


#1

I’m in a bit of a pickle. As part of my business, I often run seminars. At these seminars, we gather e-mail addresses on little cards, asking if we can send them marketing mail. Well, of course, some people don’t actually READ this mail before submitting it as spam! I’ve read dreamhost’s TOS, and it seems they have an incredibly strict policy - my question is, if I were to send mail from a dreamhost site to these e-mails, and some people did mark it as spam (even when it’s not), what are the chances of a cancelled account?

Every message we send has an unsubscribe link, and a quick note as to where we got their address – when something is marked as spam, is the account cancelled immediately, or do they check the sent mail to make sure?

The other hosts I’ve worked with have all said that they require a URL from where the person signed up, but since we take the information on paper, that doesn’t really work very well…


#2

This is a question that probably should be submitted to Dreamhost support for an authoritative answer - most of us active on this forum are customers just like yourself, and while many of us have a lot of experience with DH, we cannot speak for them.

That said, the chances of getting an account canceled for spamming in the situation you describe are pretty good. The process used for evaluating a spam complaint at DH has been explained to me, and it is my understanding that when a complaint is received it is investigated.

While the contents of the reported spam email are reviewed, the fact that it may contain a “optout” or “remove” link does nothing to decrease the “spamminess” of the mail.

Dreamhost’s policy is very strict, and they are very serious about maintaining a “spamfree zone” when it comes to their accounts.

Note that Dreamhost policy actually requires more than the “url from where the person signed up”, it also requires a “confirmed opt-in” status (they have to sign up first, and then confirm that they signed up with a second action). This must be documented with the ip address and the date time of the original opt-in and the confirmation. One of the things that will be evaluated when a “spam” report is investigated is whether or not these rules were followed.

Your cards will not accomplish that, any more than, for instance, maintaining “membership applications” where people have “agreed” to receive email marketing, and signed them.

There are actually several “good” reasons for this, though they may not be readily apparent. You might find reviewing this forum thread on “how not to be a spammer” useful in understanding part of what is involved.

To me, the bottom line is to use the DH announce-list management tools to send marketing email, as they provide all the “backup” Dreamhost requires to handle a “spam complaint”. There are even instruction in the DH wiki on how to use an existing list with reasonable safety and policy compliance with these tools (basically, you send a “one time” mail to those whose gave you a card, or signed up in some “offline” manner, and they then confirm back that they want to continue to receive the mail - if they do not, you dump them from the list).

–rlparker


#3

I’m just curious. Are all the web server providers strict with so-called spam?

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#4

“”“Note that Dremhost policy actually requires more than the “url from where the person signed up”, it also require a “confirmed opt-in” status (they have to sign up first, and then confirm that they signed up with a second action), this must be documented with the ip address and the date time of the original opt-in and the confirmation. One of the things that will be evaluated when a “spam” report is investigated is whether or not these rules were followed.”""

Well, this is actually good to hear, since the e-mail we were planning on sending was to GET the “confirmed status.” I probably should have mentioned that. Thanks for the link to the thread as well, and the information about the Wiki. I’m sure I can use that to get what I need.


#5

…all the good ones are. :wink:

–rlparker


#6

You are welcome, and I hope you succeed in getting it set up in a way that works for you within Dreamhost’s policies. :slight_smile:

–rlparker


#7

I was looking for the confirmation step and did not find it.
The keywords are consent and confirmed opt-in.
If I attended your seminar and wrote my boss’ address or if I thought you were a jerk and I wrote the address of a known “anti-spammer” on your card, you would be in trouble.
Even if it was my address, I would have expected a confirmation request. And if I did not respond to that one, no more e-mail from you.

http://www.spamhaus.org/mailinglists.html


#8

Note to self: Reload the page to have a look at the answers before posting.


#9

That’s an excellent point! Or how about if you attended the seminar and wrote the address of one of his competitors on the card? :wink:

–rlparker


#10

Set up an announce list. Change confirm email - remind them about the seminar card they filled. Use a subscribe form page. Add emails using the form. They will get confirm email. If they click confirm link from email, you are good.


#11

I’ve seen various levels of strictness. At the moment, I’ve decided to go with a Virtual Server from fiber.net (they’re local to me). It’s a much more expensive option, but they’re a little more flexible. We’re still using a confirm-opt-in method, but with how many different sites and clients we host with dreamhost, I thought it best to push the risk somewhere else. It would really suck if one marketing campaign shut down an entire list of clients.


#12

If you send an email asking them to join your mailing list, a lot of people will probably report that as spam. And if they do, there will be no record of them ever asking you to email them.

Instead of collecting email addresses with little cards, why not hand out cards that tell people where to go to sign up, if they want to? If they really want to receive your mail, they’ll go sign up for it.


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#13

That’s a pretty reasonable way of looking at it, and even though it will cost more money for hosting, I think it was probably a good business decision.

–rlparker


#14

ummmm spam to me…
crap I don’t want and didn’t ask for, sometimes, so aggravating; at my desk, is personal. Someone getting in my face like that… of course they don’t have a pair to try in person they’d probably only reach about a dozen people before they got a black eye or two.

I see all kinds of things wrong with that…

only trying to help of course…

Why not entice them with a good website? Take advantage of what people are looking for. I don’t mean pages full of garbage content… I’m talkin’… nice graphics, proper wording…

Of course it all depends on your tactics, objective. Trying to make money? Do you not care about your customers?

Express your business with heart through your website; as long as it’s valid and something people want, I’d like to think you would have a date with success… shortly thereafter, a second date…

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