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Tired of Bogus Spam Complaints? United We Stand ….

Written By: June Campbell

If you are distributing material to an opt-in email list, you need
to know about a fledgling, grassroots organization called
e-Crucible. The organization is committed to “opposing by any
ethical, political, and legal means available the vigilante
activities of “anti-Spam” fanatics and the unfair and unjust
handling of ‘Spam’ complaints by certain Internet Service
Providers.”

According to the Executive Director, John Botscharow,
e-Crucibles is in the process of acquiring non-profit status so it
can exist as a legal entity.

But first, a little background.

As an online publisher, you already know what I mean by bogus
spam reports. Either in error or with mischievous intent, a
subscriber decides your ezine is spam. Quicker than you can say,
“Hey, you subscribed!”, s/he sends hostile, rude and often
abusive emails to every web site or email address listed in your
ezine. In some cases, the complainant includes a worm or virus
with the email for added impact. Or maybe s/he reports you to
SpamCop, CAUSE or a similar vigilante group.

The bad stuff hits the fan. You’re deemed guilty and there is no
wayto prove your innocence. Without contacting you,
SpamCop emails your ISP, your web host, your advertisers and
even the writers whose articles you have published. At best,
you spend the next few days explaining and pleading your
innocence to the people involved. At worst, your website host
and your ISP shut you down. Your business is interrupted until
you can make other arrangements. If you live in an area of the
world where you have only one ISP available, this can
mean the end of your Internet business.

This story is but one example of many. Frank Garon is a
webmaster who publishes an opt-in ezine with a subscriber base
of 12,000 (http://www.InternetCashPlanet.com). His ezine
contains clear unsubscribe instructions. Sometime in April,
2001, a subscriber allegedly sent the entire ezine to SpamCop
with the instructions to “shut down this American *&%^
spammer.”

Garon reported that SpamCop contacted every email address
and web host address contained in the ezine. One victim was
a writer whose article had been published in the ‘zine. She had
the usual resource box at the end of her article, including a link
to her site. The writer’s email account was shut down, and at
last report, her web site was in jeopardy. Remember that this
writer did not send a single email. Common sense dictates that
she could not possibly have been guilty of spam.

Garon and the writer sent an appeal to SpamCop. The response
from SpamCop’s “deputy” included the following:”…”If the
admin of this ezine would like to pursue punitive action against
the SpamCop user for filing a false complaint, we will need to
see proof of opt-in confirmation. Otherwise, we will simply
consider this matter closed…”

Now here’s the kicker. SpamCop did not reveal the name
and email address of the complainant. Without identification,
how can Garon prove that the subscriber had opted-in?
Worse, without the email address, how can Garon remove
the subscriber from his list? What’s to stop the same subscriber
from filing the same complaint repeatedly? Again, it defies
common sense.

As Garon wrote, ‘To have to spend every day wondering if
TODAY is the day some creep is going to falsely accuse you of
Spam and cost you and your entire family everything you have
put years of hard work into is MORE than a little scary.”

To make the story even more bizarre, e-Crucible members state
that they have reported real spammers to SpamCop with no results.

If you’re an email publisher, the shark attacks come from three
sources: odious subscribers, vigilante organizations and ISPs
and web hosts who shut you down without giving you a
chance to defend yourself. As an individual, you can do little
to change the situation.

Please consider signing up for the free e-Crucibles mailing
list and help strengthen this little organization with the big goals.
Sign up at http://www.topica.com/lists/e-Crucible/
or send email to mailto:e-Crucible-subscribe@topica.com

Please note: e-Crucible is NOT pro-spam. They are opposed
to spurious spam complaints that put legitimate marketers
in jeopardy.

About the Author

Visit June Campbell on the web for articles, a FREE ebook,
or for guides to writing business plans, business proposals,
joint venture contracts and more.
http://www.nightcats.com

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