If you are distributing material to an opt-in email list, you need to know about a fledgling, grassroots organization called e-Crucible. The organization is committed to "opposing by any ethical, political, and legal means available vigilante activities of "anti-Spam" fanatics and unfair and unjust handling of 'Spam' complaints by certain Internet Service Providers."
According to Executive Director, John Botscharow, e-Crucibles is in process of acquiring non-profit status so it can exist as a legal entity.
But first, a little background.
As an online publisher, you already know what I mean by bogus spam reports. Either in error or with mischievous intent, a subscriber decides your ezine is spam. Quicker than you can say, "Hey, you subscribed!", s/he sends hostile, rude and often abusive emails to every web site or email address listed in your ezine. In some cases, complainant includes a worm or virus with email for added impact. Or maybe s/he reports you to SpamCop, CAUSE or a similar vigilante group.
The bad stuff hits fan. You're deemed guilty and there is no wayto prove your innocence. Without contacting you, SpamCop emails your ISP, your web host, your advertisers and even writers whose articles you have published. At best, you spend next few days explaining and pleading your innocence to people involved. At worst, your website host and your ISP shut you down. Your business is interrupted until you can make other arrangements. If you live in an area of world where you have only one ISP available, this can mean end of your Internet business.
This story is but one example of many. Frank Garon is a webmaster who publishes an opt-in ezine with a subscriber base of 12,000 (http://www.InternetCashPlanet.com). His ezine contains clear unsubscribe instructions. Sometime in April, 2001, a subscriber allegedly sent entire ezine to SpamCop with instructions to "shut down this American *&%^ spammer."
Garon reported that SpamCop contacted every email address and web host address contained in ezine. One victim was a writer whose article had been published in 'zine. She had usual resource box at end of her article, including a link to her site. The writer's email account was shut down, and at last report, her web site was in jeopardy. Remember that this writer did not send a single email. Common sense dictates that she could not possibly have been guilty of spam.