How can I prevent Abuse/Spam?

  • Mailing lists are an excellent vehicle for distributing focused, targeted information to an interested, receptive audience. Consequently, mailing lists have been used successfully as a highly effective direct marketing tool.
  • Unfortunately, some marketers misuse mailing lists through a lack of understanding of Internet customs and rules of the forum pertaining to Email. Others fail to take adequate precautions to prevent the lists they manage from being used in an abusive manner.
  • The Email addresses of new subscribers must be confirmed or verified before mailings commence.
  • This is usually accomplished by means of an Email message sent to the subscriber to which s/he must reply, or containing a URL which s/he must visit, in order to complete the subscription. However it is implemented, a fundamental requirement of all lists is the verification of all new subscriptions.
  • Mailing list administrators must provide a simple method for subscribers to terminate their subscriptions, and administrators should provide clear and effective instructions for unsubscribing from a mailing list. Mailings from a list must cease promptly once a subscription is terminated.
  • Mailing list administrators should make an “out of band” procedure (e.g., a means of contact by which messages may be sent for further correspondence via Email or telephone) available for those who wish to terminate their mailing list subscriptions but are unable or unwilling to follow standard automated procedures.
  • Mailing list administrators must ensure that the impact of their mailings on the networks and hosts of others is minimized by proper list management procedures such as pruning of invalid or undeliverable addresses, or taking steps to ensure that mailings do not overwhelm less robust hosts or networks.
  • Mailing list administrators must take adequate steps to ensure that their lists are not used for abusive purposes. For example, administrators can maintain a “suppression list” of Email addresses from which all subscription requests are rejected. Addresses would be added to the suppression list upon request by the parties entitled to use the addresses at issue. The purpose of the suppression list would be to prevent subscription of addresses appearing on the suppression list by unauthorized third parties. Such suppression lists should also give properly authorized domain administrators the option to suppress all mailings to the domains for which they are responsible.
  • Mailing list administrators must make adequate disclosures about how subscriber addresses will be used, including whether or not addresses are subject to sale or trade with other parties. Once a mailing list is traded or sold, it may no longer be an opt-in mailing list. Therefore, those who are acquiring “opt-in” lists from others must examine the terms and conditions under which the addresses were originally compiled and determine that all recipients have in fact opted-in specifically to the mailing lists to which they are being traded or sold.
  • Mailing list administrators should make adequate disclosures about the nature of their mailing lists, including the subject matter of the lists and anticipated frequency of messages. A substantive change in either the subject matter or frequency of messages may constitute a new and separate mailing list requiring a separate subscription. List administrators should create a new mailing list when there is a substantive change in either the subject matter or frequency of messages. A notification about the new mailing list may be appropriate on the existing mailing list, but existing subscribers should never be subscribed automatically to the new list. For example, if Company A acquires Company B, and Company B has compiled opt-in mailing lists, Company A should not summarily incorporate Company B’s mailing lists into its own.