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Old November 13, 2008, 12:22 PM
Posts: n/a
Default What is Spam?

If I want to solicit prospective clients, can I go to their site, grab their email address and send them an email about my services?

Since my email is only going to one recipient, is it still considered spam?

Now, if I compile a list of 100 emails and send all 100 at the same time my email, then it is spam?

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Old November 13, 2008, 01:07 PM
GordonJ's Avatar
GordonJ GordonJ is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 3,507
Default UNsolicited email by definition is SPAM....for emails.

Yes, you would be a spammer. Could get shut down.

The reason they have the double opt in (where you need to respond to an email) is to prevent the accusation (which is all it takes to many hosts) of being a spammer, even if they forgot they signed up...

What you are thinking of will get your goose cooked.

NOW, spam on a forum, is where you come by, never contribute, but offer your services or products for sale and leave a link. That gets deleted very quickly.

SPAM can create massive headaches for you. Make sure you are prepared to deal with them when you spam.

Gordon Alexander

Last edited by GordonJ : November 13, 2008 at 01:16 PM.
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Old November 13, 2008, 02:18 PM
Ankesh's Avatar
Ankesh Ankesh is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 692
Default Re: What is Spam?

Thanks for asking Matt.

If you personalize the emails in detail - then most people won't consider it a spam. If people realize that you've spent time on the email - then most of them won't consider it a spam message*.

* Depends on what you're selling too. If you sell the blue pills - yes it'll still be considered a spam.

In summary: No personalization = spam. Only name personalization = spam too. Detailed personalization = not spam.
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Old November 13, 2008, 04:09 PM
Pete Egeler
Posts: n/a
Default Not so, Ankesh..

"No personalization = spam. Only name personalization = spam too. Detailed personalization = not spam."

The CANSpam law makes no distinction. Any unsolicited email, personalized or not, fall under this law.

If I didn't ask you to contact me, I don't care if your email comes wrapped in ribbon with flashing lights all around, it's STILL Spam.

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Old November 14, 2008, 04:51 AM
Ankesh's Avatar
Ankesh Ankesh is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 692
Default Re: Not so, Ankesh..

Thanks Pete.

As I understand it - CANSPAM laws are only for mass mailings. (And they are valid only in USA.)

Not for solo emails.

Practically speaking - if you contact someone who doesn't know you via email - and personalize that email - he won't call it spam.

I cold email a lot of people. I send out quite a few thank you letters / comments / jv requests etc via email. All to people who haven't yet given me permission to email them.
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Old November 13, 2008, 06:45 PM
L.B. Jenkins
Posts: n/a
Default Re: What is Spam?

Hey Matt,

Originally Posted by CopyCub View Post
If I want to solicit prospective clients, can I go to their site, grab their email address and send them an email about my services?

Since my email is only going to one recipient, is it still considered spam?

Now, if I compile a list of 100 emails and send all 100 at the same time my email, then it is spam?


This straight from the FTC website:

The CAN-SPAM Act: Requirements for Commercial Emailers

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them.

The law, which became effective January 1, 2004, covers email whose primary purpose is advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a Web site. A "transactional or relationship message" email that facilitates an agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer in an existing business relationship may not contain false or misleading routing information, but otherwise is exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, is authorized to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act. CAN-SPAM also gives the Department of Justice (DOJ) the authority to enforce its criminal sanctions. Other federal and state agencies can enforce the law against organizations under their jurisdiction, and companies that provide Internet access may sue violators, as well.
What the Law Requires

Here's a rundown of the law's main provisions:

* It bans false or misleading header information. Your email's "From," "To," and routing information including the originating domain name and email address must be accurate and identify the person who initiated the email.

* It prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message.

* It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. You may create a "menu" of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender.

Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor's email address. You cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have another entity send email on your behalf to that address. Finally, it's illegal for you to sell or transfer the email addresses of people who choose not to receive your email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless you transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law.

* It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender's valid physical postal address. Your message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving more commercial email from you. It also must include your valid physical postal address.


Each violation of the above provisions is subject to fines of up to $11,000. Deceptive commercial email also is subject to laws banning false or misleading advertising.

Additional fines are provided for commercial emailers who not only violate the rules described above, but also:

* "harvest" email addresses from Web sites or Web services that have published a notice prohibiting the transfer of email addresses for the purpose of sending email
* Generate email addresses using a "dictionary attack" combining names, letters, or numbers into multiple permutations
* Use scripts or other automated ways to register for multiple email or user accounts to send commercial email
* Relay emails through a computer or network without permission for example, by taking advantage of open relays or open proxies without authorization.

The law allows the DOJ to seek criminal penalties, including imprisonment, for commercial emailers who do or conspire to:

* Use another computer without authorization and send commercial email from or through it
* Use a computer to relay or retransmit multiple commercial email messages to deceive or mislead recipients or an Internet access service about the origin of the message
* Falsify header information in multiple email messages and initiate the transmission of such messages
* Register for multiple email accounts or domain names using information that falsifies the identity of the actual registrant
* Falsely represent themselves as owners of multiple Internet Protocol addresses that are used to send commercial email messages.

Additional Rules

The FTC will issue additional rules under the CAN-SPAM Act involving the required labeling of sexually explicit commercial email and the criteria for determining "the primary purpose" of a commercial email. Look for the rule covering the labeling of sexually explicit material in April 2004; "the primary purpose" rulemaking will be complete by the end of 2004. The Act also instructs the FTC to report to Congress in summer 2004 on a National Do Not E-Mail Registry, and issue reports in the next two years on the labeling of all commercial email, the creation of a "bounty system" to promote enforcement of the law, and the effectiveness and enforcement of the CAN-SPAM Act.

See the FTC Web site at for updates on implementation of the CAN-SPAM Act.

The FTC maintains a consumer complaint database of violations of the laws that the FTC enforces. Consumers can submit complaints online at and forward unwanted commercial email to the FTC at [email protected].
For More Information

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair practices in the marketplace and to provide information to businesses to help them comply with the law. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Your Opportunity to Comment

The National Small Business Ombudsman and 10 Regional Fairness Boards collect comments from small businesses about federal compliance and enforcement activities. Each year, the Ombudsman evaluates the conduct of these activities and rates each agency's responsiveness to small businesses. Small businesses can comment to the Ombudsman without fear of reprisal. To comment, call toll-free 1-888-REGFAIR (1-888-734-3247) or go to
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Old November 13, 2008, 08:29 PM
Sandi Bowman
Posts: n/a
Default Re: What is Spam?

Does anyone know if the fraudulent header portion of the can spam act affects the Mailinator disposable email accounts for short term use? Just wondering.

Sandi Bowman
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Old November 14, 2008, 12:06 AM
Posts: n/a
Default I have a different opinion on emailing businesses & others do too...

Ankesh's comments are correct if you are professional in your email communications...

I respect Pete's and other comments on email and Spam But....

Too many in business have the wrong understanding when it comes to doing business by email... Spam is a totally different animal...

Make sure you read and fully understand the difference between the two....

All kinds of businesses use email communications for joint ventures, networking, bartering, discussing products and services etc. etc. It's all in how you Creatively communicate...

Helping businesses with useful information is just one method that definitely works...

Effective E-mail: How to Communicate Better

I'm not sure if Skip is still regularly passing through SowPubs but many of his Excellent business ideas involve email communications with businesses that work great!

You might find a few if you read through some of Skip's posts in the SowPub archives...

Of course everyone interprets information differently since Living each day in itself is a risky business...


Last edited by Phil : November 14, 2008 at 12:10 AM. Reason: additional info
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Old November 15, 2008, 01:41 AM
Posts: n/a
Default Re: What is Spam?

Regardless of what the law says (and CAN-SPAM is a joke if you ask me), what matters most IMO is what your prospects perceive your email to be. Is it a friendly contact that might provide me with some useful, valuable information - or is it a sale pitch for your services?

You can follow the letter of the law and convince yourself that what you're sending is "legal" - but if I see it as just another intrusion I have to deal with, all focused on you and what you do blah blah blah, your message will be deleted in a millisecond and you're ruined any chance of ever doing business with me again.

Now, if you send me an email with an offer to help with a problem I have, maybe send me a free whitepaper on something that interests me, then I might consider your message and take a look at your offer.

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Old November 17, 2008, 04:37 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Re: What is Spam?

Originally Posted by CopyCub View Post
If I want to solicit prospective clients, can I go to their site, grab their email address and send them an email about my services?

Since my email is only going to one recipient, is it still considered spam?

Now, if I compile a list of 100 emails and send all 100 at the same time my email, then it is spam?


Let me give you the definition of spam according to C-NET, "the compulsive urge to send huge amounts of unwanted email by individuals (or companies) to a larger number of people". Is this your purpose? If yes, then consider yourself as a spammer. If not, then good.
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