There are a number of ways
to avoid being inaccurately labelled a spammer. The golden rule when running
a mailing list, is to never send emails to people who did not explicitly confirm
their intention to receive them. Things can get a little complicated as you
attempt to expand your mailing list membership, so here are some abuses and
inappropriate practices that should be avoided:
- Do not purchase
email lists from companies claiming to have "Thousands of Opt-in email
addresses." You are guarenteed to be disappointed. Most companies
in this market do not bother to validate their lists of email addresses, nor
do they confirm whether or not the people on the list have given permission
to be distributed. You will end up sending your correspondance to people who
did not request anything and who may already be getting annoyed with having
their email addresses disclosed to other companies. If you do purchase
a list from someone else, as soon as you begin to get spam reports, dispose
of the ENTIRE list immediately. If a few users on this list are reporting
spams, that means that there are probably many more addresses on this list
that shouldn't be.
- Do not attempt
to legitimize sending your email to unconfirmed recipients by including "Opt-out"
or "Unsubscribe" instructions. There are three reasons
not to do this:
- People should not
have to take the time to opt-out of a mailing list that they didn't sign
up for in the first place.
- Many people will
refuse to follow your opt-out instructions for fear of encouraging further
unsolicited emails because spammers use these opt-out responses to confirm
that an email address is valid.
- Some recipients may
be using multiple email aliases which make it difficult for them to determine
which address was involuntarily subscribed to your list.
- Do not request
a receipt of delivery for your mailing list. First of all, you are
never going to go through all of your receipts to check and make sure that
the emails were read. Second, many people are wary of delivery receipts and
consider them an invasion of privacy. There is rarely a need to use these
- Do not use ANY
email harvesting software. Software that spiders webpages for "mailto:"
links, or searches newsgroups for email addresses are never an acceptable
means to develop your mailing list membership. Furthermore, the use of mass-emailing
software, such as programs that guess at and attempt to verify email addresses
should NEVER be used. These practices are universally attributed to spammers.