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ISPs that share MAPS concerns about harm caused by spam often request access to MAPS' databases so that they can decide whether to block email which originates from listed sites.
Consequently, ISPs have to fear being listed by MAPS if they are not aggressive in combating spam. As a result, many ISPs will shoot first and ask questions later when one of their clients is accused of spamming.
How do you protect yourself from spam complaints?
First and foremost find an ISP or hosting company that takes a proactive approach to spam complaints. Review their Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) or Terms of Service (TOS). If AUP or TOS does not state how or what their process is for handling spam complaints, ASK! Also ask them about their attitude regarding SpamCop. It appears that SpamCop is becoming defacto spam clearing house.
When an ISP or hosting company receives a spam complaint, their policy should be to diligently, and swiftly investigate reported incident. They should make every attempt to determine actual origin of an email, as well as intention before making a determination. Their policy should be to issue a warning first.
If you have an opt-in, opt-out mailing list, it should not be a problem. Even then possibility does exist for someone to "forget" that they opted in. Using a double opt-in method list is ideal for maintaining opt-in lists. The request to be added to a list is submitted and then submitter has requirement to confirm request prior to actually being placed on mailing list.
People writing articles for publication in electronic newsletters should be particularly careful in selecting their ISPs and hosting companies. The possibility exists that an article could be published in a newsletter that someone claims to be spam.
In short, there isn't a set, specific method of determining how someone will react to a mailing, however using common sense, and reading as much as possible about pitfalls of spam, should steer readers clear of any major problems.
Some links readers may find helpful: http://www.dtcc.edu/cs/rfc1855.html http://spam.abuse.net/whatisspam.html http://www.spamcop.net
Glen Palo has published the Achieve USA Home Business Journal since 1998. For a subscription, please visit http://www.achieveusa.com For more information on protecting yourself from spam complaints send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org