Twitter Blacklisted by Spamhaus

SBL84807 tells the story: Spamhaus has observed Twitter invitations more-or-less being used by spammers. According to Spamhaus, Twitter does not appear to have controls in place that prevent spammers from issuing invitations to imported lists of email addresses, and also, Twitter invitations have a broken unsubscribe link.

Let's hope Twitter works quickly to address this issue to Spamhaus's satisfaction.

I personally am not a big fan of "import your address book and we'll send everybody you've ever talked to an invitation to our fabulous new social network," as address books are invariably filled with crap. Even if the intent isn't nefarious, if I did this, I'd end up sending invites to the Apple store, all the mailing lists I'm on, the various abuse desks I talk to, including Twitter's own Del Harvey.

Also, people seem way to willing to hand their email passwords over to third parties. I'm sure Twitter isn't planning on stealing your address book, but what of the next site? And the site after that? Eventually a bad guy will figure out that this is a great way to harvest your contacts.

Let's Talk About the Rules

Over on Word to the Wise, Laura Atkins blogs about THE RULES. As I keep complaining about, a lot of "not so great" senders keep saying JUST TELL US WHAT THE RULES ARE. Okay, she'll lay out the rules for you. Thank you, Laura!

I've been thinking about this, and I've got a few rules of my own. Here are my top five:

Groan: .co TLD to be opened to the public

Wired reports that the country of Colombia is about to open things up, allowing anybody who wants to buy a domain under the TLD (top level domain) .co.

You know what's great about this? Nothing at all. Count the seconds until phishers set up websites at hotmail.co and yahoo.co. What an opportunity to inappropriately monetize misdirected traffic! I'm sure the big webmailers will do their best to snap up every domain they can think of, to try to prevent stuff like this. But they won't get them all, and there will be other ones that (good) people won't think of but other (bad) people will.

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 pollardmemorial@responsys.com 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!