Don't Share Needles!

Ew, what a disgusting title. But, sharing needles is what it amounts to.

Google Voice and Phone "Spam"

I've become a heavy user of Google Voice these past few months, ever since I got my invite and was able to set it up. Finally! A local phone number. (I kept my old, out-of-state cell number when I moved to Chicago a few years ago.) I tried to get by with Skype and other solutions for a while, but none of them work as well as Google Voice does.

Symantec Says Illinois is #5

My current state of residence is in the top ten! Whoo! The top ten of what, you ask? Why, in the list of states ranked by how much spam people in those states, receive, of course. 

Rocky Mountain Bank WTF

So, if a bank accidentally sends you somebody else's information....they can now sue your webmail provider to have your account disabled? Uh, WTF?

Make it stop!

One of my friends is receiving unwanted email from a big motion picture studio, and can't make it stop.

Continuing to send email to a recipient after they have unsubscribed is lame, and illegal. It is a violation of US Federal Law, just as sending emails without an unsubscribe option would be. But, the fact of the matter is, that for the Average Joe Recipient of an email, there isn't a lot of recourse; no easy option to rain down a hell fire of pain on somebody who won't stop filling your inbox with their unwanted email. And no legal standing to sue -- only ISPs, the FTC or states attorneys general can take action under CAN-SPAM.

So, you don't really have a big stick to wield, Mr. Average Joe Recipient. But, that doesn't mean it's hopeless. Here's what I would do if I were in your shoes.

Funny T-Shirt

David Greiner of Campaign Monitor writes: "Way back in May this year, we asked you guys to come up with some new ideas for our popular range of email nerd t-shirts. I the end, we had nearly 150 hilarious (and some kinda scary) ideas that we then put up for vote. We announced the three winners in July, and have finally turned those winning ideas into something you can wear."

Spam Resource, New and Improved

Please allow me to break from our regular programming momentarily, so that I may brag to you about the most recent changes made to Spam Resource and DNSBL Resource. If you're one of those RSS reader kind of people, feel free to swing on over to and check out all the new, useful things that weren't there before.

Pivotal Veracity on Domain Reputation and ISP Insights

Pivotal Veracity's Deirdre Baird dropped me a line the other day, letting me know that PV has some very useful information available for sharing. In their ISP Insights for 2009 and 2010 whitepaper, they quiz top ISPs on their current and future plans with regard to spam filtering, domain reputation, authentication and more. They talked to AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, Comcast, Road Runner, Verizon, Bell and Cloudmark and each shares their plans or thoughts for what's upcoming on the spam filtering and reputation horizon. Very insightful stuff. Thanks for sharing, Deirdre!

Click here to download the whitepaper.

Breaking: Goodmail Sued for Patent Infringement

Laura Atkins writes, "Late last week RPost sued Goodmail for infringing two patents. One patent authenticates content and delivery of documents. The second verifies the message was received by the recipient." Read all about it over at Word to the Wise.

Ask Al: Help! I'm Blacklisted!

Akhter writes, "Our company IP address X.X.X.X is on the blacklist. We have tried many ways of contacting the SORBS company but we have received no response from them. Is there a way to get delisted from their database?"   


Steven Champeon says, "If your PTR contains or ends with IN-ADDR.ARPA, you're Doing It Wrong. Go read a book. That is all."

Domain Reputation and Recipient Engagement

Today's guest post comes from Chris Wheeler, the Director of Deliverability at email service provider Bronto Software. No stranger to the email experience, Chris's past experiences have included building a deliverability program from the ground up at a major online retailer and manning the d-team at a enterprise level ESP. Chris contributes to several blogs online and is part of a handful of key industry committees and think-tanks for taking email to the next level, both for marketing and recipient effectiveness. When not neck deep in email related things, he's busy with his two dogs and enjoying his home town of Austin, TX. Take it away, Chris! 

Quick Hit: Blagojevich Spam

Patti Blagojevich, the wife of the embattled ex-governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, seems to have done something she shouldn't have with an email list. The allegation is that she kept the email list from the non-profit she was previously working for and mailed to it, trying to promote Blago's awful book. Yeah, that's not good. Chicagoist has the story.

Online Privacy in the UK

Planning to handle consumer data in the UK? Then it's time to learn about the Data Protection Act 1998. Thankfully, Wikipedia has a very helpful overview. What are the key takeaways?

Ask Al: Trouble Sending From My Own Domain?

Adalbert writes: "Hi Al, I need to send emails from Outlook Express. I have a dynamic IP address. I have my own custom domain name. When I try to send, I receive this error: El mensaje no se pudo enviar, el servidor rechazó la dirección de correo electrónico del remitente: '' Asunto 'prova2', Cuenta: '', Servidor: '', Protocolo: SMTP, Respuesta del servidor: '550 5.0.0 Rejected - zen.dnsbl', Puerto: 25, Seguridad (SSL): No, Error de servidor: 550, Número de error: 0x800CCC78

Help! Why can't I send?" 

Good Advice for Senders

Hey email senders, looking for some good advice? Here's a few things you should do or not do, if you want to walk on the right side of the line and enjoy email delivery success.

New FBL from Tucows/OpenSRS

There's a new feedback loop in town, according to Chris Wheeler over on It's being offered by Tucows, who is, among another things, a wholesaler of domain names and other Internet services to ISPs and web hosting companies worldwide. They do not sell domain names directly to consumers, but operate the OpenSRS reseller service that is widely and popularly used.

Jigsaw Blacklisted by Spamhaus

Last week Ken Magill interviewed Jigsaw CEO Jim Fowler, quizzing him on his company's stance on selling lists of email addresses. Jim makes it clear that it's perfectly legal to do so. Jigsaw doesn't deliver the mail, he says. They faciliate the unwanted mail, I say. If somebody does stupid things, they get what they deserve, Jim says.

New Maine Law Came...and Went

Chip House reported on the new Maine law over on his blog: "The law doesn’t specifically identify email marketing, [but] it does cover the collection and use of all personal information (also called PII) for minors under 18 without parental consent. An email address is PII by most accounts. The legislations also prohibits marketing based on this personal information. The act reads: '... A person may not use any health-related information or personal information regarding a minor for the purpose of marketing a product or service to that minor or promoting any course of action for the minor relating to a product.'"

How Google Looks at Spam Complaints

From WebProNews: "Google's Matt Cutts answered a user question about how the company handles spam complaints in the most recent video upload to the Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel."

You Can't Buy an Existing Business Relationship

I ran across this on Box of Meat the other day. Pitney Bowes pays $2.9M to settle ‘Blast Fax’ lawsuit: "When you buy a client list as part of buyng a firm’s assets, do you have an established business relationship with the clients that allows you to fax them? The issue just cost Pitney Bowes $2.9M to settle...."

Wow, does that bring back memories. Not fax-specific memories, but email ones.

Happy Birthday, Internet!

J.D. Falk writes about the history of the internet and the relationship between the 'net and advertising. "Oh, Internet. You had such potential when you were born -- darling of the research community, supported by the wealthiest military the world has ever known. And you married well, into a powerful merchant family. Why are you so lost? Is it a midlife crisis?" Read it here.

(H/T: Box of Meat)

Internet Miracle Cures For Everything!

Quick Hit: Today, Consumerist talks about Slate's Big Money blog, where Chadwick Matlin asks and answers the question, "Who’s to blame for these hideous Internet ads that just won’t go away?" Read it here.

Don't Lie About Safe Harbor

The FTC recently announced what appears to be the first spotlight shined on somebody pretending to be Safe Harbor certified when they actually are not.