LinkedIn for list building: Still bad news

It's been just over five years since a particular goober harvested his LinkedIn contact list and spammed me and a bunch of other folks. Consider that the next time it happened, with somebody else doing it, was just now, I guess that means that it's safe to say that not EVERYBODY plans to use LinkedIn to haphazardly build their list. I think it's good that perhaps most folks wouldn't think of doing that. A five year interval is better than a five week interval. But the couple of times it has happened to me -- and when I've observed it happening to others -- it always seems to be a "digital strategist" or "email strategy expert" behind it.

Real email marketing experts don't send spam! I'm sure you're all very nice people and the person in this latest incident seems like a nice enough guy. Maybe we'll get to work together on a project with a mutual customer. I'd like that.

But I do have a problem with you taking your LinkedIn contact list and importing it into an ESP and sending to it. That's spam. It wasn't cool in 2011, and it still isn't cool now.

(I'm not even calling this latest guy a goober. He just needs a bit of education. That previous guy who did it, he wanted to argue about it for days, then resorted to name calling when the discussion didn't go his way.)

Apple iOS 10 to support List Unsubscribe

Various online sites are reporting that Apple's iOS operating system version 10 is going to add support for the list unsubscribe header found in many email messages. In case you're wondering, it does sound like this unsubscribe feature supports the "mailto" version of the list unsubscribe functionality. A reddit user posted an example of a generated unsubscribe request here. I'm unclear as to whether or not it will support the "http" version of the list unsubscribe functionality.

The beta version of iOS 10 was released just yesterday, and the full public release is expected to happen sometime this fall.

FBI Raids Spammer Outed by KrebsOnSecurity

Another spammer put under the microscope! Brian Krebs reports on the FBI arrest of Michael A. Persaud, reported to be one of the world's top ten spammers.

Sanford Wallace gets jail time for FB scam

Ah, Sanford Wallace. 1990s spammer, widely blocked and blacklisted, one of a few big bad spammers who made the rest of us realize that spam was a real problem and that we had to do something about it.

Way back in 1999, in a Usenet discussion thread about Sanford, one of my fellow spam fighters asked this question: "My question would be when Wallace is going to find another loophole that allows him to cost-shift his advertising? If he could find a way to print flyers and get them glued onto everyone's car, then sue them for removing them, I'd bet that he'd do it. He's just that kind of scumbag."

Uh, well, here's something. "Last August, Wallace admitted to compromising around 500,000 Facebook accounts, using them to send over 27 million spam messages through Facebook's servers, between November 2008 and March 2009."

When is a phish not a phish?

How about, when the email is actually legitimate? But, how do you know, if the company isn't using their brand or company name in the from address? John Levine shares a scary example of what turns out to be a legitimate email, just with really, really poor branding. It makes me seethe, because it goes against everything we're supposed to be teaching end users to know about how to tell a good email from a bad one. (For more on what phishing is, click here.)

Can't send to Dad, sorry.

"Send to Dad by Sunday midnight!" the email's subject line exclaims. My father is currently in hospice care. He isn't reading a lot of emails. He probably doesn't need this valuable offer.

This reminds me a lot of the multiple "Don't miss out on Mother's Day reservations" emails from last month. My mother was cremated at the end 2014, so she probably doesn't need a reservation.

But please keep reminding me of the past and pending deaths of people dear to me, marketers! It's thoroughly endearing-- kind of like an un-ending emotional colonoscopy.

My mother passed away right around Thanksgiving in 2014. When Thanksgiving rolls around, that doesn't itself get me down. It's the explicit reminders that marketers blast via email and Facebook on those couple of holidays that actually suck.

It only took about a year after our last dog died to get the vet to stop sending us "it's time for Solly's checkup!" reminders.

You'd think marketers would do better at making it easy to stop this kind of thing.

They don't, though.

Internet, Web Enjoy One Final Day As Proper Nouns

I have never liked capitalizing internet or web, previous versions of the AP Stylebook be damned. I guess I'm some sort of trailblazer or something, because now my way is the right way, because the latest version of the AP Stylebook says it is no longer appropriate to capitalize the words internet or web.

Putting the "free" myth to bed

Word to the Wise's Laura Atkins, like me, often gets asked about words to avoid in subject lines. Is it OK to use the word "free" in a subject line? I read that causes spam filtering! Not true, Laura patiently explains. Like Laura, I've been trying to explain that to people for years, myself. Back in 2007, I wrote:

"Since when did the world "free" become a bad word?" The answer is: It didn't. It's not. The vast majority of spam content filters don't do anything so simplistic as to filter or block a message just because it contains the word "free." Don't be afraid to use the word "free." If you're not sending spam, it's not likely to get you blocked.

Still true today.

Scott Walker's got a list for you

Why does it seem like all politicians are spammers?
Want to spam everybody who signed up for emails from Wisconsin governor Scott Walker during his failed presidential bid? That'll cost you $10,500. Makes me wish I had signed up for his email list, so I could see what kind of junk he's allowing people to send through today.

Boy, that'd make me mad if I signed up for his email list and started getting random ads for unrelated things. I don't know about you, but I try not to give my email address out to people who plan to share, sell, or repurpose it after the fact.

What is phishing?

Not this kind of fishing.
Somebody asked me recently, what is phishing? Instead of re-inventing the wheel, allow me to link to a few of the resources already out there that explain what phishing is and why it is a problem.

What is phishing? From Wikipedia: "Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication."

From Microsoft: "Phishing email messages, websites, and phone calls are designed to steal money." Included are examples of what a phishing scam in an email message might look like.

And here is more information from the FTC's Consumer Information site.

Outlook.com (Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail) Issues Today

I'm hearing from multiple sources that some mail to outlook.com / live.com / hotmail.com recipients is being delayed / deferred unexpectedly today.

ETA: Issues seem resolved. Not quite sure when they cleared up.

Yahoo, Gmail and Spam in the news

Yahoo and Gmail both hit the news this past weekend, and not for great reasons.

Protect Your Brand and Reputation

Today's guest post comes from deliverability consultant extraordinaire, my friend Josie Garcia. Take it away, Josie!

Did you know that senders are in control of many more reputation and vulnerability factors than ESPs?

Cisco PIX/ASA: Disable SMTP Fixup

Over on the Mailop list, a postmaster shared his tale of woe involving sending mail to a small set of recipients whose mail server is behind a Cisco PIX firewall.

Verizon.net moving to AOL

Some or all of verizon.net mailboxes are going to move to infrastructure hosted by AOL.

Google Postmaster Tools: Domain vs. IP address Data Thresholds

Today's guest post is from Brian Curry, Manager of Deliverability, for Merkle Inc.. Take it away, Brian!

Since July of 2015, Google rolled out a shiny new tool for the Deliverability community to poke around and nerd out. We all know Google hasn’t always been the most transparent to Senders, so while we play with our new Gmail toy, we start to notice small things that perhaps give us clues into Google’s mind.

Google Postmaster Tools: Not receiving data?

A few different folks have reported to me that when accessing Google Postmaster Tools, they were seeing this message being displayed instead of data:

No data to display at this time. Please come back later. Postmaster Tools requires that your domain satisfies certain criteria before data is available for this chart. Refer to the help page for more information.

B2B Spam is Dumb and You're Dumb and This Other Guy is Dumb, too

Every so often somebody approaches me to ask me if B2B spam is OK now, because they get B2B spam at their work address. Everybody gets it, they presume, thus it must now be acceptable. Or it was always acceptable and those deliverability guys were just trying to mislead them before.