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Dealing with spam trap e-mail addresses

Sombody put a stink bomb into our site through a window

     
3:58 am on Sep 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Last week we got a letter from our e-mail handling company saying they are going to cancel our account since we sent a promotional e-mail to a spam trap e-mail address

We never harvest e-mail addresses. Looks like sombody got this address into our customer database.

I don't want this to happen again. What other known spam trap e-mails are out there? I want to make to our mail server will never send out order confirmation, etc to these addersses.

<snip>

Thanks.

[edited by: lorax at 3:18 pm (utc) on Sep. 24, 2005]
[edit reason] no email addys please [/edit]

5:10 am on Sept 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It'll never work that way around.

I'll never tell you the spam trap email addresses I personally use.

You need to go through your database of email addresses and sort them into three categories:

  • those you have documented proof (eg a log from a signup, or proof of an pre-existing business connection) that they will accept emails from you under given conditions
  • those you'd like to send emails to but don't have the opt-in documentation
  • everyone else.

    Delete the everyone else email addresses. Then suspend the ones without the documentation until you approach them (probably not by email!) to get their opt-in agreement.

    Pretty much anything else is spam, and your handler would be right to cancel your accont for doing it.

  • 3:20 pm on Sept 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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    Let's steer this thread into a 'what you can do about the situation' and avoid posting any email addresses please. Thanks!
    4:07 pm on Sept 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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    Victor,
    Sorry, if you misunderstood my issue. Someone has placed an order using this smap trap e-mail addresses and checked our 'subscribe to newsletter'. We do not sent any news letters unless the customer op-in.
    1:10 pm on Sept 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

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    Apologies if I misunderstood. I am right in thinking the sequence of events is:

    1. someone fills in an online form requesting a newsletter from you. But they give a false/spam trap email address.

    2. You send a single "please confirm" email to that address. The pc email contains a sign-up verification code, or activation URL, or whatever.

    3. You get no response to that, so you send no newsletters.

    4. Your email company complains on the basis of that one pc email.

    If so, you have no worries. Tell em you've used due diligence and all should be well.

    A variant scenario on that is that someone did step 1 many times all with the same false email address. If you did not filter those out, then you will have sent multiple step 2 emails. That's not good. But you should get away with an apology/explanation and a tightening up of your procedures.

    However, if you took the step 1 false email as an opt-in and sent multiple newsletters to the email address: that doesn't look so good. You've got some serious grovelling and procedure tightening to do.

     

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