In Memoriam: Stefan Pollard

It is with sadness that I pass along that email marketing expert Stefan Pollard passed away recently. He was a really good guy. I had only met him a few times in person, but we traded emails regularly, and anything he wrote was always on my "must read" list. (My favorite column of his was probably "Get Over Getting Blocked," and I've linked to his excellent explanation of what spamtraps are in a previous post here on Spam Resource.) He was intelligent, witty and kind and I am sure I am far from the only one that benefited greatly from interacting with him.

Ours is an industry filled with disagreement; there are a lot of folks with questionable motives pretending to wave the flag of best practices while secretly supporting spam (or just being completely ineffective at stopping spam) on the side. It cheers me up to see so many folks step up and have kind things to say about Stefan over on ClickZ. I think that speaks very positively to his reputation and ethics and personality that so many from a fragmented industry have so many good things to say about him.

ClickZ reports that Stefan's employer, Responsys has set up a fund to benefit Stefan's children; those interested can make contributions to the Pollard Memorial Fund by logging in to their personal Paypal account and clicking on the "Send Money" tab. Donations should be sent to e-mail address.

Recommended Reading: Fatal System Error

Back in January, I saw author Joseph Menn speak at a conference, telling us tails of tracking cybercrime from the US to Russia and everywhere in-between.  I found the topic (and his telling of these tales) very compelling, scary and amazing.

In his book "Fatal System Error," he shares stories from various good guys chasing after the bad guys (people like Andy Crocker and Barrett Lyon) and the history of the underground cybercrime economy. Crime is big business and international cybercrime is no exception.

I found it very interesting, and a bit depressing. Specifically, how hard it is to successfully bring the worst offenders to justice, due to jurisdictional issues, the ease of which criminals (and internet traffic) can cross international borders, and the (not too surprising) allegations of police/government protection in some countries.

If It’s Not Permission-Based Email Marketing, It’s Just Not Worth it

Following up on my recent post, "How Not to Respond to Public Spam Allegations," wherein I detail a few of the useless responses I receive whenever I mention somebody's spam issue publicly, Blue Sky Factory's Ken Pfeiffer shares his similar frustrations, stuff he hears in his role as deliverability director. Great post, Ken!

DNSStuff Leaking Addresses?

I've talked about my issues with DNSStuff previously, but today, I've run across a new issue. It looks to me as though somehow, email addresses given to DNSStuff are ending up in the hands of a spammer.

How Not to Respond to Public Spam Allegations

I admit it. I'm loud. I have opinions. And I'm not shy about sharing them.

Sometimes, I highlight bad actions taken by bad actors. I also highlight bad choices made by good guys. Sometimes people spam out of malice, but certainly, sometimes people spam out of ignorance. Sometimes companies have a long history of bad practices, or a long history of combative relationships with anti-spam groups and ISPs. Sometimes people are just new to email marketing. Sometimes there's even a language barrier involved that makes somebody sound like they're promising to keep spamming, when that's not really what they mean. Sometimes a company has an overzealous marketing manager that needs to be reigned in (or jettisoned).

Bad idea: Sending from the Cloud

MailChimp's Ben Chestnut talks about why it's a really bad idea to send emails from the cloud. He highlights Reddit's own public statements of frustration over being blacklisted by Trend Micro and struggling to get confirmation mails delivered. I couldn't agree more with Ben's take on things. The cloud is a neat place to compute, but for a multitude of reasons, it's not a great place from which to serve email.