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Help for Victims

By Jim Daniels
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Now lets move on to help some spam victims. If you're doing business online, there is a good chance that one day you will be accused of spamming, even if you are not a spammer. The anonymity of the Internet promotes the attitude of accuse first and get the facts later. (I know this all too well after my recent experience.)

Anyway, when it happens to you, you'll need some letters to send out to both the spam victims and the company responsible for the spam. Here are the two you should save for future reference...

Letter to spam recipients:

Thank you for contacting us. Here are the details of this unfortunate situation.

The spam you received originated from the domain . Rest assured you have NOT been added to any email lists at our site. We do NOT use nor do we condone the use of unsolicited bulk email and we too, are innocent bystanders in this situation.

We are in no way affiliated with the offending website and along with your address, our addresses were on their spam list. Any further actions you wish to take should be directed to them. More details on our policies and this incident are available at the following URL:

And here's a letter you can use as a model when you need to contact the party responsible for your grief...

Dear Offending Website Owner Name, CC to:legal@yourdomain.com

I have copied the headers of an email message sent by your user, which confirms email activity on . This email has resulted in numerous complains to our email addresses. Please take the following actions immediately:

a) explain of how this incident took place and why b) take measures to insure that this NEVER happens again c) notify each address on your list that our domain was not responsible and was an innocent bystander in this unfortunate situation

Please reply to this email message before the close of business on or we will be forced to pursue further action. We will also expect a full letter of explanation mailed or faxed to our offices.

Thank you for your cooperation.

And closing today's column, here are a few additional tips to help you avoid trouble with unsolicited email...

- If you have an opt-in list, keep EVERY opt-in request you ever receive. I keep opt-in requests dating back years. On several occasions I have been able to provide proof of signup to someone who forgot they joined and accused me of sending unsolicited email. These email "receipts" also come in handy with ISPs and web hosts.

- Keep your email addresses from being harvested at your website by using a tool that encodes your email addresses. It's a great way to cut down on spam and avoid situations like the one I ran into! See the following URL for a free encoding service: (www.siteup.com/encoder.html)

- At your site, state your policy on unsolicited email very clearly. It's also a good idea to post reports of any incidents at the same area of your site. See (http://www.bizweb2000.com/privacy.htm) for an example of how you can set this up.

Well, this closes a rare, not-so-fun chapter in online marketing. Hopefully today's tip will help you avoid trouble or save you a bit of time if and when trouble does arrive.

About the Author
Visit Jim at (http://www.bizweb2000.com) where he shares exactly how he makes his living from the Internet. And get Jim's free weekly email newsletter, BizWeb eGazette by sending mailto:optin@bizweb2000.com