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Saturday, July 23, 2005

AMATEUR SPAM COPS - HAVE THEY GONE TOO FAR ? by D...

Posted: 2005-07-19T00:39:32Z

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AMATEUR SPAM COPS - HAVE THEY GONE TOO FAR ? by Darren Robinson



You think spam is annoying ? Let me tell you a spam story that
is beyond annoying and well past anger - and it isn't about
receiving a few annoying advertisements in your Inbox. It's
about a particular internet species whom I shall call amateur
spam cops. Let me explain.

I am writing this article as a warning. From time to time I
write business articles for newsletters as a means of promoting
my web site. An article of mine was recently picked up from an
article-announcement list by a larger-than-usual number of
newsletters.

For a while, it was great ! My resource box (similar to the one
below), pointed to my web site and, during this one week in
particular, the hit counter was going crazy. I had ten times the
normal number of visitors.

And then disaster struck. The hit counter slammed to a halt.
Suddenly I was getting numerous emails from potential customers
telling me that my site was down. Now, I had been with Virtual
Avenue for about 3 years and never had a problem, so I thought
maybe it was just a temporary glitch and that the site would be
back up the next day or something. I visited their support page
& asked them politely to investigate.

After visiting the site, I began reading my emails again (I get
about 120 per day, and I download my email twice a day), and
came across a robot message from their abuse department. The
message told me that a spamming complaint had been received and
that they were shutting me down in 48 hours. Well that was
nonsense for a start - they had already shut down all my sites !

The message said that I had spammed someone by sending them a
newsletter. I quote -

***
We regret to inform you that your account dwr9760 will be
deleted from our servers within the next 48 hours because it
violates our Terms of Service, found at
http://www.virtualave.net /account/policies os

Reason: Spam complaints [1311819] Subject: whatUseek Weekly -
The Stealth Approach To Making Money On The Internet
***

For those of you not into the internet marketing scene, "WhatU
Seek Weekly" is a pretty useful newsletter for business ideas &
marketing tips. I have subscribed to it for about a year. They
recently ran an article of mine called "Any Fool Can Choose The
Wrong Career".

It took me a few minutes of hard thinking to figure out the
connection, but once I worked it out, I was shocked at the power
these amateur spam cops now have. An accusation appears to be as
good as a conviction, at least in the eyes of Virtual Avenue.

It appears this is what happened: for whatever reason, a
disgruntled subscriber has been unable to unsubscribe from the
WhatUSeek newsletter. So instead of just complaining straight to
the publishers of this newsletter, or even to the Host of the
newsletter web page, they decided to get VERY nasty and file
spam reports against every link & email address that they can
find within that newsletter (and it is normally quite a big
newsletter !).

So this person sees my harmless article, checks out the resource
box and sends off a spam report to the Host of my advertised web
page. Even though I have never sent an email to this person in my life !
In response to a single unsubstantiated report, Virtual Avenue IMMEDIATELY
shuts down all my web sites without any warning.

Numerous further emails were exchanged over the next few days,
with the "support" people (now there's an inappropriate title)
refusing to reinstate my web sites, even though they eventually
acknowledged I was not a publisher of the newsletter and had not
spammed anyone. They had received robot complaints from Spam Cop
and were determined that someone was going to suffer for it. I
was simply guilty by association.

Meanwhile, I have been spending at least 30 minutes daily responding to
all the emails complaining about the site being down, not to mention the
many hours involved with shifting the websites elsewhere. I have lost
bucket-loads of customers due to a false accusation and a trigger-happy Host
who seems anxious to shut-down its own members.

So next time you get annoyed by unsolicted commercial email in your Inbox,
just remember - it could be worse. At least these pests aren't actively trying
to close down your business.
About the Author
Darren Robinson is the publisher of THE PANIC BULLETIN, a
free twice-weekly email newsletter.
If you suffer from anxiety attacks, depression, obsessive
compulsive disorder or other related conditions, keep up
with the latest news articles from around the world.
Just send a blank email to
panic_disorder-subscribe@listbot.com

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