Here’s a question I wondered about for a long time. Many of us have become familiar with the oodles of spam that makes its way to our inbox on a daily basis. The inconvenience of deleting each and every irrelevant and sometimes crude offer is a major annoyance. It’s enough to make you wonder…
“Do spammers ever get punished?”
I’m happy to report that they do. In fact, I’ve seen it happen to enough companies that I thought I’d list the ramifications for those good-hearted souls who may feel tempted at some point to partake in spamming activities.
The following are just a few of the punishments that are being levied against spammers. Please note that I don’t list these punishments to scare you from sending responsible permission-based email. Relevant email communication with a targeted audience that has granted permission to email them is not spam.
The ISP Pulls the Plug
An ISP (Internet Service Provider) can detect when a particular user suddenly starts sending large volumes of email. In some cases, these systems are so sensitive they can even flag your account when your CC: field has too many names in it. If you are using a local ISP to send large amounts of email (over 50 pieces an hour) you can expect to get a letter from them threatening to terminate your service. Most Internet service providers have strict policies against using their system to send large volumes of email for personal or private use.
Website Hosting Company Refuses Service
Many web hosting companies would prefer not to service companies that spam. You’ll find that most hosting services include explicit language in their terms of service about sending unsolicited email. In some cases hosting firms will refuse you service or shut down your account if they receive complaints that you have promoted your company in a list that was collected without permission by another vendor. That’s right: You need to be careful where you promote, or risk getting your site shut down.
Anything I write here about the law is likely to be outdated by the time I press “save.” I will say that for many people and large companies who are fed up with Spam, the filing of lawsuits is becoming increasingly more frequent. You can get sued for not playing by the rules, and you might just find yourself before a judge who’s probably sick of spam, too.
Spammers receive a lot of nasty messages. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer not to make thousands of people irritated with me.
Perhaps one of the greatest costs to a business is the lost customers that come from being associated with unsolicited commercial email. To many customers, saying you promote your company through spam would be like a makeup company saying they do chemical experiments on puppies. It’s socially irresponsible. I’ve yet to see a successful organization, run by upstanding individuals, that promotes via unsolicited email.
If a prospect receives a message and asks to be removed from the email distribution list, and the sender continues to email them, the sender can be fined by the recipient up to $1,500 for each offense.
Black Listed and Blocked By Major Internet Companies
Repeat spam offenders can make an unofficial “Black List.” These lists are compiled by spam blocking software companies, Internet service providers (ISPs) and responsible email advocacy groups. Once a spammer’s domain gets listed as a spam source, all the major ISPs activate a block on mail coming from that domain. The original email list might only get through to half or less of the original delivery.
AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and a host of other popular online services have waged war on spammers. If you get identified as a spammer, you can forget sending messages to people on those systems. Your email will be blocked.
Spamming Doesn’t Pay
Most businesses that rely on spamming prospects as a marketing practice suffer from weak business plans and poor reputations. Dedicate yourself to helping your business be successful and respecting the rights of prospects and customers. Don’t spam!