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6:04 pm on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Hope I'm in the right area for this question.

We're build a supplemental directory to our metasearch using ODP data as a foundation (just the UK regional part). Now, we want to contact those in the directory for additional information to go with their entry (ie, we want to add a postcode so they can have a map, keywords for better indexing etc. - nothing too frightening). I've had a look at ODP Terms and it says nothing about approaching site webmasters. We will put ODP as the data source, and make it clear they aren't on a mailing list, it's just a one off mailer.

Do you think this is prohibited?

9:05 pm on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Just my personal opinion here. I've never looked at the odp data, but I am guessing that you dont have email addresses provided and that you will be doing some type of spidering for them.

If you goto any website and they have an email address provided so that the user can ask for more information or ask questions, whatever - then I think (logically, not legally) you would be in the green to ask them generic information about their company.

Spam is defined as unsolicited commerical email. You appear to be sending somewhat-solicited informational email without any mention of a product whatsoever. I wouldn't consider this a problem myself. On the other hand, If hundreds of people started spidering my site and requesting information from me, I would be ticked - so I'm not sure that this may be a great idea.
-Greg

brownsmurf

9:25 pm on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

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It isn't prohibited as far as ODP goes, as per their license [dmoz.org].

As far as webmasters go, we reach an interesting predicament. In some situations webmasters don't know that they are part of the ODP. In that editors have manually built categories and painstakingly found and added sites. Now some end-user wants to add more information about their particulars by e-mailing them, most will be happy to give you information, some will not know what the ODP is and some will not even realize that they have a site still online and listed.

That aside however, I'd spider pages for postal codes, and isolate those that do not have them. This should decrease the number of e-mails you'll have top send out considerabley.

11:08 pm on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

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We've come to the conclusion that we'll try and see with a small test run. What we are going to do is make it clear that we aren't offering a commercial, but a free product, no money is involved whatsoever. We are also going to ensure that we make it clear that their website information is retrieved through the open directory (link provided) and that we are sending them just this one off email.

Hopefully most people will see that there is no harm in adding their site to another set of results, and if we assure them that we won't be on the phone within minutes pestering them to advertise hopefully they'll be happy.

Fingers crossed!