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This 81 message thread spans 3 pages: 81 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
I Sent a Link Request - And Got a Spam Warning from My ISP
Helpful Tips for Anyone Developing Links
Powdork




msg:420896
 6:14 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I recently went through (by hand) a national list of clubs pertaining to a section of my site and emailed a request for a link to the webmasters of the sites I found. Basically the email said "If you think this site would be of use to your visitors please add a link" and it was sent to 180 recipients. Well it turns out someone reported the email as spam. It did not have an opt out type thing because it was the only email I plan to send to these folks. So now my ISP sent me a warning saying that they will terminate the account if they get another report. I am tempted to just switch hosts since I feel as though now I am being held hostage but don't really want to go through the trouble. I am also considering never sending another email to anyone with aol.com as there address.
Anyone have experience with this? Any tips to avoid strike two?

 

Macro




msg:420897
 6:20 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> Any tips?

Sure, don't send any more unsolicited mail.

Two years ago that may have been OK. Now, I get tens of link request emails everyday. I treat them as pure SPAM. While I don't have the time to report each one to the ISP concerned... some people do. Because of the sheer volume of link requests - and the clever wording of some of them - it's too time consuming to distinguish your hand selection from the bulk rubbish. Best to just trash the lot.

I understand your frustration but, strictly speaking, you've just SPAMmed a load of webmasters (irrespective of how you arrived at your list of email addresses).

Powdork




msg:420898
 7:06 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

There are two things to consider however.
1)Almost all of the email addresses that were found had something to the effect of "If you have questions, comments suggestions about this site please email...

2)By your definition, any first correspondence is spam, unless discussed on the phone or by mail or in person first. If it is by phone or by mail then that would have to involve spamming on the phone or by mail.

pageoneresults




msg:420899
 7:12 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

2) By your definition, any first correspondence is spam.

In today's marketplace, that may be a good summation of a link request email.

It may be time to go the manual route and send those requests through an online contact form if one is available. Or, do a whois and find out who the technical contact is.

Don't forget, the ISP has a liability in all of this too.

Powdork




msg:420900
 7:47 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

In today's marketplace, that may be a good summation of a link request email.
Picture a ski club that on their website lists their trips planned for the year. One of them is to my location so I offer my site as a potential source of information since I have lots of unique information (not lodging) on the Mountains and the terrain. I use the email address that specifically requests this type of stuff and its called spam. Has it gotten that bad?

I should note that I have a fix in place that redirects users of adblockers to a 'why you can't see my site' page. That seemed to irritate some of the emails recipients which could also have led to a spam report. I'm reviewing my policy on that.

I'm not real sure how the reports work? Does a user report them or does AOL recognize that the email was sent to a number of their addresses?

diamondgrl




msg:420901
 11:49 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Powdork,

I don't have great advice to you but I think any personally addressed and individually sent email, while unsolicited, is still a world of difference from the pure unadulterated spam that we all get by the hundreds.

I don't think it helps the cause of fighting spam to draw such harsh rules. If any unsolicited email I send is considered spam, then I spam my family and friends all the time.

What you should do, though, is make sure the email doesn't sound spammy and tone down the marketing message. Then send them one at a time.

ogletree




msg:420902
 11:55 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

If somebody has an email on their website asking for comments or suggestions they don't get spam. Every email they get they asked for. If you send out a link request to only these types of email addresses you should be able to prove to your isp that the email was not spam. It would be interesting to get one of those email address CD's and send an email to each one of their isp's and say that they were spamming a few times I wonder how many people you could get banned. It seems like ISP's assume all compaints are legit.

Powdork




msg:420903
 12:05 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

It seems like ISP's assume all compaints are legit.

I think they have too. These are from their email.

HostingCompanyName does not determine what is or is not considered spam.

We receive reports from ISP's (such as AOL) or spam reporting agencies (such as Spam Cop) which we must address.

HostingCompanyName does not have the authority to override a determination of spam. HostingCompanyName is not notified who reported the email as spam.

Which leads to the question "What is a 'determination of spam'?"

kevinpate




msg:420904
 12:09 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm trying to put myself in the vistor's shoes.
Say I get an unsolicited email suggesting time was spent at my site and based on a common interest, I would enjoy site X, which gives info on an area I clearly intend to visit.

Okie dokie, I'm curious. I dinna ask for the contact, but it's at least not totally random. So now I'm in the same book, if not the same page, with the sender.

But then, something changes. Whether I click a link or type in an address, suddenly I find myself not in OZ, but whisked away by some unknown man behind the curtain so I may be educated - advised - prompted - whatevered into a perceived need to totally change my surfing habits before I view the info I was invited to view.

Speaking only for myself, and realizing others may differ, I'd be slapping at the back button and in a far less positive move than when I read the email. I'd be more inclined to believe the invite was deceptive - that the primary goal was to get the site's ads in front of my eyeballs.

Someone thinking that way and also really ticked about it could be more inclined to write to the sender's ISP.

Not saying that happened in Powdork's case, but I could certainly see that being one possibility.

ogletree




msg:420905
 12:31 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm just saying that a spammer could make it impossible for isp's to do anything because they are getting requests to remove everyones email account.

ken_b




msg:420906
 12:41 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

...any first correspondence is spam,...

Maybe time to switch to multi-stage linking efforts.

Small talk can serve a purpose.

Powdork




msg:420907
 1:37 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not saying that happened in Powdork's case, but I could certainly see that being one possibility.
I agree and I'm kinda torn on what to do. I feel strongly about the adblocker blocker but not so much when I invite someone to do me a favor.
coconutz




msg:420908
 2:25 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Which leads to the question "What is a 'determination of spam'?"

As of late it seems to be any unsolicted message that generates a complaint from the recipient.

ogletree




msg:420909
 5:58 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Right now all email is spam. You only get in trouble if someone complains. There is maybe one out of a 1000 non spam emails that I actualy asked somebody to send me. Just like if an ugly guy asks a girl out it's sexual harrassment and if a good looking guy asks a girl out it's not.

sit2510




msg:420910
 6:07 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>> Anyone have experience with this? Any tips to avoid strike two?

Did you send out 180 requests in one short succession? It could be the combination of spam report and bulk e-mails that made you a culprit in the eye of your ISP.

IMO, it could be a good idea to use secondary and disposable ISP next time.

neuron




msg:420911
 6:13 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

if you go to spamcop and fill in the appropriate information then any email becomes spam. If it's fresh enough, they'll contact every official account they can find that is relevant to the domain. If it's from your domain, your host will receive and email notifying them that you have had a spam complaint lodged. If you are the benefactor of some advert spam, and not the sender, the same result will apply.

Therefore, any email you send can be considered spam. My secretary came into my office telling me about some baby that was born and that her mother had spammed her about it? "Spammed you?" I asked. She showed me the email. She had apparently CC'd everyone in her address book and there were like 40 addresses showing. Baby Announcement Spam (with pictures). So, yeah, if a mother can spam her daughter then anything goes.

There are some protections you can take. One is to offer a one-time fee of $5 or so for them to post your link. Another is to have a redundant site, off of your regular host. Then if you get in trouble you can simply change the DNS back to your original host.

What you are complaining of is exaserbated by the current rage of doing themed link directories. When linking so closely to ones own subject matter it is easy to send a link exchange request to someone who considers themselves your direct competitor, and while they may have welcomed the request from virtually any other site, they could take the opportunity to make you less competitive in their arena by getting your site shut down. It happens.

Powdork




msg:420912
 8:21 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am also considering never sending another email to anyone with aol.com as their address.
I'm quoting myself there.
After looking further into the information provided by my host, they indeed come close to recommending that. The warning actually pertains to mailing lists. "Thou shalt purge thyne mailing list of aol.com. Thou shalt turn away those of the 198..."

martinibuster




msg:420913
 5:46 am on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Or, do a whois and find out who the technical contact is.

Hmm. And make a phone call? That may be an option.

Phoning to make contact for a domain name purchase has worked well for me. I'm wondering if phone calls for link exchange requests are the next step.

[edited by: martinibuster at 5:58 am (utc) on Dec. 23, 2004]

Powdork




msg:420914
 5:55 am on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Phoning to make contact for a domain name purchase has worked well for me.
That's what got me into this business.
pageoneresults




msg:420915
 5:59 am on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmm. And make a phone call? That may be an option.

I've done this quite a few times over the years. There are just some partnerships that require a phone call instead.

Sweet Cognac




msg:420916
 12:15 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi all. Powdork, you mention AOL as a possible source of of the complaint? That is very likely. I have an AOL account because I live where there is no cable or DSL service. AOL has a major spam filter. Here's what happens. When you sign up for AOL 9.0 the default nowadays is to grab all suspected spam and throw it into a spam folder. The user has to actually go to the spam folder when they sign on and check it. In other words, a screen pops up and says, "Would you like to check your spam folder?" I have had some very important email from businesses get stuck in this "spam" folder. It is a real pain, so I just turn the spam folder "off" so I will get all mail.

In AOL 9.0 the user doesn't even have to open the email if they don't recognize the sender, they have a button at the bottom that says "spam." When they click it, it gets sent to AOL as a complaint, and added to their spam folder.

In AOL 8.0, (which I use because 9.0 won't let me access Outlook Express)the user has 2 buttons to click and they don't even have to open the email. They just highlight it, and click Report Spam. A screen pops up and says "block this email address and send to AOL" The second window is a "Your spam email has been sent to AOL and thank you.

So it is possible that any complaint was not directed to you personally, or anything that you wrote in your email, or the amount of emails you sent.

Hope I have helped, and Happy Holidays to all

stef25




msg:420917
 1:48 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

as a webmaster you open yourself to requests from other webmasters to exchange links, especially since reciprocal linking is so important.

should i decide to report an on-topic link exchange request as spam, i would expect people to call me extremely tight arsed.

as a sidenote, i get WebmasterWorld private message spam for link requests aswell, completely off topic

Lawnboyronmiller




msg:420918
 2:00 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

get your own t-1 .. and host your servers yourself. t-1s are very affordable now adays.. 1/5 of what they used to cost 4-5 years ago.

merlin30




msg:420919
 2:06 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Spam = UCE = Unsolicited Commercial Email

A link request is not in, nor of, itself commercial; therefore cannot be considered as spam.

Macro




msg:420920
 2:11 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

All spam is not commercial. Some is religious, some political. The crucial bit is the "unsolicited".

<edited for grammar>

[edited by: Macro at 2:56 pm (utc) on Dec. 23, 2004]

johnser




msg:420921
 2:18 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

What spamcop says goes. As a non-spammy link builder, you do not have a right of appeal.

If Bill Gates liked your company/site, found your address on the site and emailed you asking for a meeting to discuss buying you out, that is "spam" in the eyes of SpamCop and consequently most upstream carriers. You didn't "request" the email = he sent you "Spam". Yes, I know it makes no sense.

There are US & foreign hosts who will offer this service but as of 3 months ago, we were being quoted $1,000 pm which is a bit steep for some minor link-building work - however, its one of the only ways of doing it in a 100% "bullet-proof" way. (We looked into this area in detail)

trees




msg:420922
 2:34 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Just our 2 cents:

    I Sent a Link Request - And Got a Spam Warning from My ISP

    False. You used a computer to generate 180 link requests (that's 179 more than 1 request). In this day and age I personally believe your site is very lucky to still be online.

    A link request is not in and of itself commercial; therefore cannot be considered as spam.

    False. By any other name you like, in this day and age the transmission of 180 identical and unrequested email messages is clearly defined as spamming. Offering $1 or $1,000 per link only helps dig your hole that much deeper.


grelmar




msg:420923
 2:43 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

should i decide to report an on-topic link exchange request as spam, i would expect people to call me extremely tight arsed.

Agree.

But 99% of the LEX requests I get are from directory sites or sites that have nothing to do with my site. THOSE are spam.

But the 1 in 100 that comes from a site that actually has something to do with mine? Odds are, it's going to end up in the rubbish bin with the rest if it has a badly worded subject line and I don't immediately recognize the address.

So in the end, I don't report the 99 as spam because I don't want to accidently lump the 1 legit in with the spammers.

In Powdork's case: Fine line. If I'm sending out a LEX request, or anything else that I'm sending to a large number of people, I have a formula that (knocks on wood) has kept me out of trouble so far:

1: Type up the Generic e-mail in a text editor.

2: Cut and paste the text into the e-mail, but ad a personalized sentence or two near the top, that shows in some way that that I've visited the person's site, or in some way signifies that that the mail is directed at that recipient specifically.

3. Send one mail at a time.

4. Include a tage line at the bottom that's effectively an "opt out" - Something to the effect of "If you feel this mail was sent to you inapropriately, contact (my-email addy and nickname) about your concerns, or your express your desire to receive no further correspondance."

It's painfully time consuming, but it's the kind of thing I wish other people would do before they send me a LEX request, or much of the other junk I receive.

And so long as I stick to that formula, I avoid the temptation of going over to the dark side of spamming.

dataguy




msg:420924
 3:03 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Spam = UCE = Unsolicited Commercial Email

Agreed, this definition makes the most sense, and this is the term that most ISP's throw around. Though it should be noted that I know of a church which got their mail server IP banned by AOL for sending out choir practice reminders to their choir members.

A link request is not in, nor of, itself commercial; therefore cannot be considered as spam.

Disagree, a link request is very much commercial. I can't imagine someone sending out link requests for their personal, never-hope-to-make-a-profit web site.

walkman




msg:420925
 3:22 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

"I Sent a Link Request - And Got a Spam Warning from My ISP"

I Sent 180 Identical Link Request - And Got a Spam Warning from My ISP

This 81 message thread spans 3 pages: 81 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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