Spam wars continue...

Posted on Mon 15 May 2006 in Spam wars

OK, so I still haven't heard from Eden, but I have received spam from 2 different companies to an address never used for spam before (a role based address of webmaster@....). That address is also only listed on one website that I run. The website also has email addresses for some friends who have businesses so I was able to ask them if they had received any spam. They had, and some sent me copies for my records.

Both companies that sent the spam gave full details of who they were so I've followed them up.

Company "W" sent email under the name of two different companies they run. One a web design company, one a hosting company. I phoned and spoke to their MD who was upset that the list he bought was not legitimate and that therefore his company was implicated in spam. I suggested that if I send an email explaining the situation and asking for the name of the company he bought the list from he could reply and provide their details. He agreed so now I'm waiting to know the details of the company they bought the list from.

Company "D" sent me the spam on Friday afternoon so I sent an email to their office explaining how they had broken the regulations and so on. Very prompt reply from the operations director apologising and saying he will remove my name from the list. He also named the company that he bought the list from but hasn't yet given me their contact details. I did have a quick look for the company he named, but there are several companies of that name and I wouldn't want anyone to mix them up. Once I have them identified I shall let you all know.

I have a feeling both of these companies bought their list from the same source.

If you are wondering why I haven't named the companies that sent the spam above it is because I currently believe they were mislead as to where the lists had come from. Yes, they should have checked but I know in running my own business that you have to place a lot of trust in suppliers. If ever you decide to buy a list PLEASE check the addresses. If you see an address webmaster@... or postmaster@.... the list is most likely rubbish. These addresses are role based addresses, used for receiving messages specifically related to their name. Often they are receive only addresses and hardly likely to acknowledge an opt-in email acknowledgement. These companies shall remain nameless as it is possible for us all to make mistakes. Eden are a special case, on the phone they declared to me they would continue to send spam, so they deserve a mention.

I also had an interesting phone call with someone at the Information Commissioners office. I was wondering how many companies they have taken to court for sending spam. The answer: none. Before you all start jumping up and down bemoaning the government bureaucracy, there's a good reason. Firstly, most spam reported to them is unactionable as it originates from outside of the UK (and therefore outside of their jurisdiction). Secondly most companies that send spam stop after a phone call. There's no need to take them to court if they stop sending spam. Generally companies wouldn't like to be seen as sending spam as it wouldn't do their reputation any good, so I think Information Commissioners Office is right in not automatically taking people to court. So, government offices can be sensible and efficient.

Now, what to do about Eden Communications....