What is bulletproof hosting?

A friend asked me the other day, what exactly is bulletproof hosting? Laura Atkins has complained before, on this very blog, that Google is a bulletproof hosting provider. Google doesn't exactly fit the criteria, but Laura's frustration was legitimate; stemming from Google's seeming unwillingness to follow up on certain types of spam complaints. So what is the accurate definition of a "bulletproof hosting" provider?

A "bulletproof hosting" provider is typically defined as a company that knowingly providers web hosting (or other services) to spammers, intending to ignore spam complaints and take no action against the spammer's use of their services.

Brian Krebs (Krebs on Security) explains in more detail on his blog. See: Body Armor for Bad Web Sites.

Netprospex: "Verified," really?

Peter Seebach reports on spam he received from Netprospex, and how their lists might not be as "verified" as claimed. (Also note my previous post on bad advice from Netprospex, and feedback and opinions from others.)

ESPs being targeted

Laura Atkins writes, "There has been an ongoing, concerted attack against ESPs recently. Today ReturnPath published some of what is known about the attack."

Gmail Priority Inbox?

So who IS using Gmail's priority inbox? I'm not. My wife is not. My friends are not. I know of many email industry people who have told me they are not using it. Are you using it? If so, why? If not, why?

More Spam from Newegg?

My old friend Mike Horwath previously shared with us his experience with Newegg sending him spam. Now he's letting us know that one of his employees is also receiving spam from Newegg. I'm bummed; Newegg always seemed to be a great place to buy computers and electronics; but hearing about them send spam sure gives me pause.

What You Suggest Will Kill Email for Everyone

I had another thought today about Gretchen Scheiman's recent MediaPost article. (You can read my thoughts from yesterday here.)

The Truth about Permission

Gretchen Scheiman of OgilvyOne wrote a piece for MediaPost the other day, entitled, "Does Permission Need To Be Explicit?" It's an interesting read and she is most certainly entitled to her opinion. I'm not really going to debate the point with her; other readers have commented, attempting to do so, and I am happy to let them have that discussion without my participation. However, the implied advice given in the article is so far outside of best practices that I wanted to take a moment and tell you what I think, what I know, based on my many years of working with clients, trying to fix deliverability issues.

New Data Breach: Chili's

I've talked about email list data thefts in the past. Data was taken from Aweber back in 2009 (and then again in 2010, sadly), and companies like Lyris, DNSStuff, Ameritrade and AOL have had also found their subscriber lists and/or email data falling into the hands of unknown third parties. This time around, restaurant chain Chili's was affected.

Consumerist reports on the matter, quoting Chili's as saying the following in an email message to affected loyalty club members: "We are contacting you because the service provider (InterMundo Media) for the Chili's e-mail club experienced a breach of their server, which could compromise security of e-mail club information. Your information potentially at risk is limited to the following: first name, last name, e-mail address and birth date."

I wonder what kinds of unwanted spam Chili's loyalty club members are going to start to receive now. I'm guessing it won't be advertisements for Applebee's.

Please Help us Kill Zombies!

I never noticed this until now, but my friend Jess Henig wrote an article for FactCheck.org all the way back in 2008, talking about how forwarded emails filled with lies and balogna keep resurfacing. Crazy stuff, yet people keep forwarding it to each other. Obama is supposedly a muslim, Jay Leno or David Letterman supposedly talking about how the country is headed in the wrong direction, and of course, the old time favorite, the Vanishing Hitchhiker.

A horde of zombies, she says...incorrect email-delivered memes that just won't die. That's about right. Heck, I get some variation of one or more of these every few weeks, myself.

So I ask you, dear reader, to do your part and help us kill off the email zombie threat. Don't forward on chain letters and weird conspiracy theories! Don't allow them to resurface! Let's work together to stomp them out once and for all.

Does Facebook Mail Change Everything?

Three thoughts: No, probably not, and it's kinda sorta like email.

Email Address Validation: Options

In my previous post, I talked about why SMTP-based email address validation is a really bad idea. Today, I'll talk about what your options are. You want to validate email addresses properly, so what CAN you do? Here are my top five tips.

SMTP Address Validation: Bad Idea

Every once in a while, somebody asks me to help them with a project to do SMTP validation of a large number of email addresses, or help them build this functionality into some product or website.

SMTP address validation is a really bad idea, for many reasons. Allow me to explain.

Holomaxx Link Roundup

In addition to my own post mentioning the lawsuit, a number of other wise folks have commented on the Holomax lawsuit(s) against Microsoft and friends. None of whom seem to think Holomaxx has much of a chance of winning when going up against the ISPs.

Size isn’t the only metric

Laura Atkins beat me to it, writing about this new MarketingSherpa case study wherein a company decimated their list and actually grew revenue. Go read her taken on it over at the Word to the Wise blog.

Holomaxx suing Microsoft, Others

From TechEye.net: [Email sender Holomaxx is alleging that] “Microsoft knowingly relies on faulty automated filters and equally faulty third party information to identify purported spam emails,” said the suit. “Even after Holomaxx informed Microsoft that it was not sending spam – and then took the initiative to review all of of Microsoft’s technical standards and suggested ‘best practices’, and then changed its mailing practices to address the only potential issue that it found there, Microsoft informed Holomaxx that due to its ‘negative reputation’, Microsoft is not able to override its own automatic spam filters.”

Javascript in emails: Bad idea? (Updated)

I asked on Twitter on October 26th if people thought it was a bad idea to include Javascript in email. The response was universally that it was a "really bad idea." As Unica's Len Shneyder put it, "Terrible idea! [It's a] potential security hole and like a .44 magnum to your toe." He goes on to point out that lots of places will block your mail based on javascript content. I've run into this myself; spam filterers find javascript in email to be a security risk.