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Spamming ESPs

In my mailbox there is a definite uptick in spam from ESPs advertising their services.

Today’s email was from a company that has the following in their anti-spam policy:

To send email to anyone using [ESP name], you must have clearly obtained their permission. We consider qualifying methods for obtaining permission are as follows:

  • An email newsletter subscription form on your web site.
  • An opt-in checkbox within a form. This checkbox must not be checked by default, the person completing the form must willingly select the checkbox to indicate they want to hear from you.
  • If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that you would be contacting them by email AND they ticked a box indicating they would like you to contact them.
  • Customers who have purchased from you within the last 2 years.
  • If someone gives you their business card and you have explicitly asked for permission to add them to your list, you can contact them.

Apparently this only counts for customers, as I have never heard of this company before receiving the spam.

I’m sure they’ll argue it wasn’t spam, it was a holiday greeting, and in fact everything above the fold was wishing me a Happy Christmas. But, down at the bottom was a message.

PS: Still not sorted your customers Christmas cards out?

You could send every one of them a fun ecard in no time at all… just click here to contact [ESP] today.

I don’t know anyone at this ESP. They hit an address that was only ever published on a website and was removed from use more than 5 years ago. It was never entered into any forms. I have never purchased from them.

It’s so blatantly spam, couched in a “HOLIDAY GREETING!” It’s not the first one I’ve gotten. It’s not even the first one I’ve gotten this year.

EDIT: Make sure to read the followup

How can this ESP claim with a straight face that they expect customers to only send opt-in mail? How can they claim they force customers to follow good practices when they don’t? This message even violates CAN SPAM – failing to have a postal address included.

At least I know what to answer if any client ever asks me about this particular ESP and what I know about them. “Well, they are spammers themselves.”

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