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Any ways around SPAM? Unsolicited email CAN-SPAM and the laws against SPAM

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  • Any ways around SPAM? Unsolicited email CAN-SPAM and the laws against SPAM

    Hi all,

    I used to use a guy for sending out unsolicited emails (SPAM) to customers. The guy has since disappeared, most probably in jail now!

    I am unsure of how he went about this but it was definitely successful.

    Does anyone have info on this issue or is it a no go area these days??

  • #2
    What is Spam?

    For background you may read this
    Don't Call It Spam

    but basically SPAM is unsolicited email.

    Before the days of email, our mailboxes might be stuffed with unsolicited mailers and letters. These were tolerated probably because the cost to print and mail them gave the sender a natural incentive to take it easy on us. As far as I am aware, the government has never taken action on commercial "unsolicited" U.S. mail. (Some unsolicited U.S. mail is regulated, such as if it comes from attorneys or other professionals, but it is not outright banned.)

    Emails, however, can be sent at almost no cost, so the sender has no incentive to limit what he sends us. Probably for this reason - that the near zero transactional cost lends itself to abuse - many states and the federal government have passed laws outlawing SPAM. Recipients of SPAM can use these laws to sue spammers - providing they can find the senders, which with forged headers and "spoofing" becomes a problem in itself.

    As the above article notes, there are organizations - notably e360insight - that are devoted to suing Spammers. And e360insight defines SPAM as "unsolicited email" even if the sender includes an opt out notice. (By the way, many of these opt out notices do absolutely nothing other than "confirm" the email address of the recipient for the sender, which then leads to even MORE Spam. For this reason, a recipient could probably argue that even with an opt out notice the email was Spam because nowadays one cannot even click on these notices for fear of getting spammed to death in earnest.)

    So, if what you fear is getting sued as a Spammer - there is not a lot you can do to prevent that if someone who receives the emails, unsolicited, is determined to come after you. Will they prevail? Well, as noted in the article, sometimes they will and sometimes they will not, but in either case it will cost you a lot to defend yourself.

    The most prevalent rule in the U.S. is the federal CAN-SPAM Act.

    The CAN-SPAM Act has four main provisions:

    • False and misleading header information is banned - This means that an email's "From," "To" and routing information, including the originating domain name and address, must be accurate and identify the sender.

    • Deceptive subject lines are prohibited - The subject line cannot mislead the receiver of the message to open it under false pretenses, thinking it's something else. The receiver must not be mislead as to the contents or subject matter of the email.

    • Opt-out methods must be provided - A response mechanism must be provided for the receiver to opt-out of any future commercial messages from the sender. In addition, opt-out requests must be processed for at least 30 days after the initial commercial email was sent, and senders have 10 business days after an opt-out request to stop sending messages to that address. Messages cannot be sent to the opt-out requestor on behalf of the sender by any other entity.

    • Commercial email must be identified as an advertisement and it must include the sender's valid physical postal address The receiver must be clearly informed that the message is an advertisement or solicitation, he must be told he can opt-out of future mailings, and a valid physical postal address must be included in the message.

    • Receivers must be warned of sexually explicit material - For any message that contains sexually explicit material, the warning “SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT” must be contained in the subject line.

    Penalties for Violation of the CAN-SPAM Act

    Violation of the provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act are subject to fines of up to $11,000. Deceptive commercial emails are also subject to laws banning false or misleading advertising.

    Additional fines are also charged to commercial emailers who break the provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act and also:

    • "Harvest" email addresses from websites or web services prohibiting the use of their directories for sending unsolicited mail
    • Generate email addresses using the "dictionary attack" (combining names, numbers, and/or letters in multiple ways to come up with email addresses)
    • Use automated ways to register for multiple accounts to send commercial email
    • Relay messages through a computer or network without permission

    Imprisonment is possible for commercial emailers who:

    • Send commercial email through a computer they are not authorized to use for that purpose
    • Relay or retransmit multiple messages to deceive recipients about the origin of a message
    • Falsify header information
    • Register for multiple email accounts or domain names with false identities
    • Falsely represent themselves as owners of multiple IP addresses used to send commercial messages

    NOW KEEP IN MIND that this refers to UNSOLICITED Commercial EMAILS. The law covers email that's primary purpose is to advertise or promote a product, service, or website. Personal emails and email updates and advertisements that have been consented to are not covered under this law. Also not covered are "transactional or relationship messages," which are emails that pertain to agreed-upon transactions or emails that update a customers in an existing business relationship. That is because these types of emails are not technically spam - they are a result of previous consent or a business relationship. However, if these types of emails contain false or misleading information they are in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act.

    Now, I don't really know of even ONE unsolicited email I have received that adheres to all of those mentioned CAN-SPAM guidelines. And I don't think it is such a good idea to put all that info about yourself in an email you are planning to send to millions.

    BUT there are certain LEGAL techniques you can follow to avoid some of the worst things happening to you - such as having your website shut down by either your host, or worse, the "backbone" that hosts your host. These sorts of things can happen if you send out too many emails in a short period of time, spam or not, and don't know what you are doing.
    Please read the forum rules before you post.

    And if you need extra help:
    Modee Tech Support


    • #3
      Luckily Modeeworld hasn't had too many problems with SPAM, but I have other forums where the Spammers ATTACKED and posted THOUSANDS of spam posts in a short period of time. Deleting all of them is like picking out a few cancerous cells from within the entire human body. But, it can be done, using the same technology that the spammers have used to attack us, we can attack them.
      Please read the forum rules before you post.

      And if you need extra help:
      Modee Tech Support