The purpose of this article is to help website owners, writers, internet marketers to protect themselves from being accused of spamming.
Anyone that has a website, webpage or electronic newsletter and communicates using email, publishes articles or promotes their URL can be accused of being a spammer.
First, knowledge is first step to prevention. Unfortunately, to date there is no official or agreed upon definition of what constitutes spam.
The internet today is result of collaborative efforts of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). IETF is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with evolution of Internet architecture and smooth operation of Internet. These are guys that write guidelines (RFC) and standards to which everyone adheres to make internet function. They wrote Netiquette Guidelines (RFC1855). For more info, visit http://www.ietf.org/
The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE) according to their website (http://www.cauce.org) was created by netizens to advocate for a legislative solution to problem of UCE (a/k/a "spam"). Unfortunately, they do not specifically define spam other than provide a list of characteristics of email sent by unreputable marketers promoting pyramid schemes, chain letters, etc.
>From my research, I have concluded that spam has been defined as junk email, unsolicited bulk email (UBE), unsolicited commercial email (UCE), unrequested email and more.
Here is a quick check list of things that would possibly be considered spam:
=>Sending advertisements, solicitations, or any type of mailing that was not requested (even if only sent to a single person)
=>Posting advertisements for your web site in news groups, bulletin boards, or any other public medium where such posts are not appropriate
=>Having other people do either of above.
Most Internet Service Providers and web hosting companies are anti-spam. They have to be because of severe consequences of being labeled tolerant of spam, and, particularly being listed on Realtime Blackhole List maintained by Mail Abuse Prevention System LLC (MAPS).
According to MAPS website at http://mail-abuse.org/, they are a not-for-profit California organization whose mission is to defend Internet's e-mail system from abuse by spammers. Their principal means of accomplishing this mission is by educating and encouraging ISP's to enforce strong terms and conditions prohibiting their customers from engaging in abusive e-mail practices.