Anti-Spam Laws

Anti-Spam Laws

Know the anti-spam laws

Everyone's doing it, right?  You know, adding email addresses from the twenty or so that were included in the joke you received last week.. Searching websites for email addresses to contact possible new customers... Or confirming email addresses that haven't confirmed... Well, it's important that you know the rules and what will happen if you are reported as a spammer or get caught out sending to an old email address.  Before you start sending email campaigns, you need to make sure you meet the standards so you're not going to be blacklisted. Guy Designs runs a separate dedicated server for email newsletters only.  We do not allow online newsletters to be run via your website due to the risk of having our IP addresses blacklisted, which leads to websites being brought down & the contracts with our servers being terminated.  It is your responsibility to know the rules & abide by them entirely.  If our server is blacklisted due to you not following the rules, your contract may be terminated immediately. Whether we look after your newsletters or not, all hosting companies must meet the following standards, so please take the time to click on each of these links and if you have any questions, please contact us.   In Australia, go to ACMA – Online Safety & Security site Click here for the Practical spam guide for businesses For a full list of Anti-spam Acts for each county, go to Wikipedia To find out more about preventing being tagged as a spammer, click here to read more Learn about Spam Traps or Honeypot addresses & how you can get caught, click here to read more

Spam Traps

Spam Traps

Spam Traps & Honeypot Addresses

What are these & how does it affect me?

To protect users from receiving spam, email providers such as Hotmail & Internet Service Providers create spam traps (also known as Honeypot addresses). When a user’s ID or email address expires or is de-activated Hotmail often uses these by placing them on known lists that are sold to companies by not-so-honest list brokers.  Hotmail & Internet Service Providers also create Honeypot addresses (email accounts specially used to monitor spam) to also place on these lists.  When emails are sent to these addresses, the sender’s IP address & often the server the IP originates from is blacklisted (also known as blocked or banned) from sending emails to all users on their service.

How to prevent this from happening

 Start by confirming new users are real by using the Double-opt in service, which is where once a user clicks on subscribe, an email is sent that they must reply to in order to be added to your active contact list.  Be careful & consider avoiding using third party mailing lists.  Make sure that you check all bounced emails & clear these from all future lists.  Most online newsletter software can be set up to do this automatically, but make it a regular to-do to check this is working effectively.  Don’t authorise users that have not activated their account by replying to the automatic email.  A lot of honeypot addresses now look real, so it’s not easy to work out which ones are fake.  Confirm that your supplier or server company is a “Junk email reporting program partner” & has strict guidelines for all newsletters being sent out by their servers as you may be blacklisted through no fault of your own.  Ask the questions, your server supplier will appreciate that you care.  

Know the anti-spam laws

In Australia, go to ACMA – Online Safety & Security site Click here for the Practical spam guide for businesses For a full list of Anti-spam Acts for each county, go to Wikipedia To find out more about preventing being tagged as a spammer, click here to read more  

Prevent being marked as a spammer

Prevent being marked as a spammer

Online Newsletters - How to prevent being marked as a spammer

Use double Opt-in feature

There are many companies out there who have programs or pay freelancers to sign email addresses up to various newsletters.  By using the double Opt-in  feature, it will send the email address used, a link to confirm that they actually did subscribe to your online newsletters & it wasn’t someone else.  They must click the link in order to confirm their subscription & begin receiving your newsletters.  

Don’t activate unconfirmed email addresses

You’ll often find a number of email addresses in your list that haven’t been activated.  The reasons for this are either, it wasn’t a real email address or the user has changed their mind.  Most software will alllow you to re-send the confirmation email, but if you don’t get a reply from this, delete the email address and forget. Read more about Spam Traps & Honeypot addresses  

Spam content & spam check

From your subject line to the content of your newsletter, be careful of capitalising entire words, or phrases, using words such as ‘free’, ‘click here’, ‘one time opportunity’ & lots of exclamation points!!!! Other areas to consider is a lot of white space, images, attachments, coloured text that is hard to read, and the size of the newsletter (try keeping it between 20-50k) to prevent spam filters automatically collecting your newsletter. Most newsletter software offers a spam scanner, which highlights words & content within your content that may cause it to be marked as spam, allowing you to alter it before sending it out.  If yours doesn’t, search for “Spam checker” on the internet and choose from one of the many available.  

Invite your audience to “white-List” you

Although there is blacklisting, there isn’t actually a white list to be added to.  However, you can ask your readers to add your from address to their address books or safe senders list.  

Unsubscribe Link

Make sure you have a statement included in your email that is easy to find in each newsletter with a link for the recipient to click to unsubscribe & instructions to reply with the subject of “unsubscribe” if they choose or can’t get the link to work.  Some experts suggest that this appears at the top of the newsletter.  

Unsubscribe requests

Australian laws under the Anti-Spam Act of 2003 states all unsubscribe requests must be processed within 5 business days.  Any emails sent after this time will be classed as Spam and the sender can be prosecuted.  

Clearing bounced emails

When people have either closed their email account, have abandoned it or it’s been incorrectly entered, you will receive a bounce.  Often ISP (Internet Service Providers) & email providers such as Hotmail use these email addresses to search for spammers. Most newsletter software offers an automatic bounce processor, but to be safe make sure you do a manual check on a regular basis and delete all bounced emails.  This will prevent you ending up being blacklisted & taking any other user on your server with you. Read more about Spam Traps & Honeypot addresses  

Allow Users to update their details.

Save your valuable customers from having to create a new account when they need to update their email address.  Include a link in your newsletters to encourage them to click if they are about to change their email or want your newsletter to go to a different address. This will allow you to prevent bounces & keep them from marking your newsletter as spam.  

Consistency

Let your subscribers know when to expect your emails. For example:

“Our newsletters are sent quarterly, so keep an eye out for our next one late July”

If you plan to send out occasional announcements or blasts, either create a check list where your subscriber chooses the types of newsletters they wish to receive.  If your software doesn’t allow for this, ask your subscribers if they wish to receive the blasts & create a separate list for those who wish to receive them.  

Know the anti-spam laws.

In Australia, go to ACMA – Online Safety & Security site Click here for the Practical spam guide for businesses For a full list of Anti-spam Acts for each county, go to Wikipedia Learn about Spam Traps or Honeypot addresses & how you can get caught, click here to read more