Tired of Bogus Spam Complaints? United We Stand ....

Written by June Campbell

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 availablerepparttar vigilante activities of "anti-Spam" fanatics andrepparttar 132817 unfair and unjust handling of 'Spam' complaints by certain Internet Service Providers."

According torepparttar 132818 Executive Director, John Botscharow, e-Crucibles is inrepparttar 132819 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,repparttar 132820 complainant includes a worm or virus withrepparttar 132821 email for added impact. Or maybe s/he reports you to SpamCop, CAUSE or a similar vigilante group.

The bad stuff hitsrepparttar 132822 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 evenrepparttar 132823 writers whose articles you have published. At best, you spendrepparttar 132824 next few days explaining and pleading your innocence torepparttar 132825 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 ofrepparttar 132826 world where you have only one ISP available, this can meanrepparttar 132827 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 sentrepparttar 132828 entire ezine to SpamCop withrepparttar 132829 instructions to "shut down this American *&%^ spammer."

Garon reported that SpamCop contacted every email address and web host address contained inrepparttar 132830 ezine. One victim was a writer whose article had been published inrepparttar 132831 'zine. She hadrepparttar 132832 usual resource box atrepparttar 132833 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.

Spam: Poison Pill

Written by Richard Lowe

A common way for spammers to create their vast lists of email addresses is to cull web pages for "mailto:" tags. There are many different programs, available for small to huge costs, which will do this automatically, easily and efficiently.

I monitor my web site log files on a regular basis, and I'm always amazed atrepparttar vast numbers of spam harvesting programs that regularly scan my pages. Not only do these obnoxious things steal email addresses, they use bandwidth which I pay for without any kind of compensation. I put up my web pages for people to read not for some scumbag spammer to scan them.

There are many ways to combatrepparttar 132816 spammer. None of these methods are perfect. As in any war, both sides are continually developing new weapons to use againstrepparttar 132817 other. New methods work for a short time untilrepparttar 132818 enemy comes up with countermeasures and overcomesrepparttar 132819 weapon.

One ofrepparttar 132820 more effective ways to confuserepparttar 132821 spammer (not hard because they don't tend to be very bright) isrepparttar 132822 "poison pill" defense. This consists of handingrepparttar 132823 spam harvesting robots some pages which appear juicy, full of yummy email addresses ripe forrepparttar 132824 picking.

The email address on these pages are fake. They have nothing to do with reality and exist only to chokerepparttar 132825 spam robots, causing them to overflow and possibly even crash.

Here's how a typical poison pill works. A script is created which performs all of these tasks. It is important thatrepparttar 132826 scripting be done onrepparttar 132827 server, so CGI, ASP, PHP or a similar scripting language must be used. Server side scripting must be used because many spam robots are not smart enough to understand client-side scripting languages such as JavaScript.

The script creates a page which appears in all ways to be a normal document in a web site. The page may include some text informing human visitors ofrepparttar 132828 intention (this is important so any people who seerepparttar 132829 page are not confused).

It also needs to include a meta tag informing all robots not to indexrepparttar 132830 page. This is critical, as you do not want robots such as googlebot or scooter (the spiders for Google and Altavista, respectively) seeing this stuff. Don't worry, spam harvesters ignore these meta tags.

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