One of my clients was kicked out of VerticalResponse this week for spamming people.
I want to share what happened so that you don't make the same mistake.
But first, some background.
As you know, spam is a huge problem. Just look at your inbox each morning.
And because of that, email software (such at Outlook) and internet service providers (such as Gmail, Hotmail, Comcast and Rogers) put up all sorts of filters to stop spam getting through.
That's all great...but it means that people like you and me, who just want to keep in touch with our clients, can get trapped in spam filters too.
So that's where email service providers - VerticalResponse is one of them but there are many others - come in.
Their #1 job is to build a relationship with others in the internet community - and that relationship is based on their reputation as a source of nothing but genuine emails.
So when you send a newsletter using their service you get the best chance of getting your message delivered.
VerticalResponse, which I am partnered with for my email newsletter service, are one of the best in the industry at this. That's one reason why I chose VR as my vendor.
Their terms and conditions state that you cannot upload lists of bought or harvested email addresses. Period.
The reason for this is because you don't have permission to mail to these people; they're not expecting to hear from you.
And when you send a mass mailing to people who are not expecting to hear from you...well, that's the very definition of spam.
So what happened in this case?
It looks like my client bought a list of email addresses and used that list in VR, breaking the terms and conditions. In that list were addresses that were known "spam traps" - email addresses that only appear on bought or harvested lists of names.
When you send an email to one of these addresses, all sorts of alarms go off.
And that's what happened.
(Not only that, but several people also wrote to VerticalResponse to complain about receiving spam. That's bad.)
Spamhaus, which acts like a spam police officer, flagged the messages and almost blacklisted VerticalResponse itself. If that had happened, VR's reputation would have been ruined...and so would the chances of its thousands of clients getting their messages delivered.
So you can see why this client got kicked out. And why they can't come back.
And I have to say, although this was a client of mine, I agree with VR's decision.
How to Avoid this Happening to You
Clearly, don't buy and use a list of names that you have no relationship with.
Although it's tempting to be able to contact a lot of people for very little cost, it's potentially illegal and plain bad business.
The only reason spammers succeed is because they send literally billions of messages. And when you send that many, there's sure to be some people who respond and make the exercise profitable.
But for you...there's simply too much downside. The numbers are against you.
I think there's a bigger philosophical issue involved too.
How do you want to position yourself in the market?
Do you want to be a pest? Or do you want to be a trusted advisor?
Do you want to be associated with Viagra and porn websites? Or do you want to build long-term, profitable relationships with people who know you, like you and trust you?
To me, the answer is quite clear.
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