OK, now let's turn to real bad guy in all of this. The webhost who shuts down a website on grounds of nothing more than say-so of an unverified spam complaint. In my case, it's DumbHost but I know there are many other webhosts and ISPs out there who are just as irresponsible.
Here's email I received from DumbHost informing me my site had been shut down:
"To whom it may concern,
"We recieved [sic] following spam complaint regarding ahbbo.com. Your domain will be temporarily disabled for 3 days. You can have your domain re-enabled at end of this 3 day period by requesting so at email@example.com. If we continue to recieve [sic] complaints, action may be taken to disable your domain.
"Regards, Abuse Response Team"
The email that followed was one from WeStopSpam.net.
Note that my site was shut down because "[w]e recieved [sic] following spam complaint regarding ahbbo.com". Not because I had SPAMMED, mind you, but because DumbHost had received a spam COMPLAINT. The notification that my site had been disabled was FIRST communication from DumbHost on matter.
An appropriate response would have been: "We've received a complaint of spamming against you. We take all complaints of spamming very seriously. Please let us have your response to this complaint so we may take appropriate action". But I guess that would have been too much like due process for DumbHost to want to bother with.
Here's what followed:
From me to DumbHost:
"If you even bothered to read "offending email" you will see that it came from so-and-so.com, NOT ahbbo.com. The publisher of email in question reprinted one of my articles in his newsletter. That article contained a resource box which contained a link to my domain.
"If my site is shut down for ANY length of time as a result of this complaint, expect a lawsuit without further notice."
Their reply (from "Level II Customer Care Representative" - ha!):
"Was this bulk mail authorized by you? This is considered an offense of our terms of service no matter where it originates as long as email is sent or authorized by you. The email advertises your website, that is why your domain has been disabled for 3 days.
Regards, Abuse Response Team"
"No! I've never heard of these people before. It is common practice for newsletter publishers to publish articles written by other people. The author's resource box is always included at end of article. If this person's newsletter went to someone who wasn't subscribed, then it's newsletter publisher who should be reported for spamming, not innocent author who is unfortunate enough to have their work reprinted.
"Did anyone even read email concerned before shutting my site down? It's obvious what happened. If my site is not reinstated today, I will be issuing legal proceedings tomorrow. "By way, don't you think your question should have been asked BEFORE shutting me down, not after?"
"Okay, I was asked to take a look at your account, I will forward this information to abuse and they should get back to you shortly...
Jordan M. Level II Customer Care"
(They apparently don't use full names at Level II Customer Care. Can't imagine why.)