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  1. #1
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    How to avoid spam complains if affiliates do email marketing?
    Hi guys,
    we are launching a new campaign with few affiliates that specialise in email marketing.
    My concern is,,,, how can we protect ourselves?

    We don't know where their lists are coming from even if they are so called opt-in lists...

    We obviously will comply with CANSPAM act, which requires us to send emails from our domain (I guess one where our landing page is placed).

    It makes our domain vulnerable, as hosting company after recieving few campaigns can block all our accounts.

    Can you please list as many potential problems that may occur in this scenario as you know?
    And the most important, how to solve them.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Do you have any idea how affiliate networks deal with this as all of them have email campaigns running for clients?

    Also if we use DirectTrack for the tracking purposes, where are their strengths and weaknesses in this process?

    Carl

  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Know thy affiliate!

    They are the the front door to your store ... they'll either let in problems or customers, as such know them, how they work and where their traffic comes from. That said, many reputable email affiliates will prove their list to you.

    As for CANSPAM, they are emailing their list, from their domain and with their optout and compliance, with your offer.

    The DT issue is entirely it's own discussion. Welcome to the forum Carl!
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Hi guys,

    I have a similar problem...

    I'm going to be going to Canal street in New York to buy some genuine Rolex watches from a seller named John (he doesn't have a last name or a phone number, just an AOL email address) who specializes in genuine products.
    My concern is,,,, how can I protect myself?

    I don't know where the watches are coming from or even if they're real...

    I will obviously comply with all laws and require him to promise and cross his heart that they're legitimate.

    I'm a legitimate reseller for Rolex and I don't want to lose my authorization.

    Can you please list as many potential problems that may occur in this scenario as you know?
    And the most important, how to solve them.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Do you have any idea how wholesalers deal with this as all of them buy from distributers?

    Also if require John to give me his business card, where are their strengths and weaknesses in this process?
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager
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    FWIW I don't believe CANSPAM requires that the email be sent from the same domain as the web site the email content may refer to.

    Someone here more familiar with the details of CANSPAM may correct me, but in my limited understanding the requirement is merely that the headers not be altered, to allow tracing of the email's path if necessary.

    If you look at the full headers for an email you can normally see all the hops the message makes from the sender's machine to your POP server. Spammers often falsify that information to conceal the message's origin, which I believe is not only a violation of CANSPAM but also of other federal laws governing wire fraud which carry their own penalties (which are often steep since many of them go back to the days when the nation was united only by very vulnerable telegraph lines and onerous penalties were the only deterrent).

    But as long as you don't willfully alter the email's headers, I believe you're free to use other servers as is common for bulk email handling.

    The other requirements of CANSPAM are just good business practices anyway:

    - Don't send multiple copies of the same email to the same account.
    - Include your physical mailing address (street address or PO box).
    - Include clear and specific instructions for opting out of future mailings.
    - Identify the message clearly as an advertisement.

    The FTC provides a summary of email requirements here:
    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/busi...rce/bus61.shtm
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlisc
    We obviously will comply with CANSPAM act, which requires us to send emails from our domain (I guess one where our landing page is placed).

    It makes our domain vulnerable, as hosting company after recieving few campaigns can block all our accounts.
    1.) CAN SPAM doesn't require sending emails from your own domain.

    2.) Get a better web host.

    To properly be compliant, make sure the mailer includes your company name, street address, and unsubscribe link in the email, in addition to their own. Make sure any unsubscribe requests are added to your suppression list that you give mailers before they mail. Also, all images in the email must be hosted by the mailer, not you, and all links must go through a domain owned by the mailer, and not directly to yours or directly to an affiliate link (this can be a redirect).

  6. #6
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    One way to make the campaign safer is to insist that any email campaign clicks through the affiliate's landing page only, and not to your site or via your network.

    That won't necessarily stop people following the chain and complaining "upstream", but it does encourage the affiliate to be responsible as any abuse could get their domain suspended.

    Alternatively, if you allow the links in the email to go directly to your site then you should make them agree to respect local laws and enforce a code of conduct.

    As Haiko and Michael are saying, know your affiliate. Insist on verifiable information and check IP addresses. Having an affiliate sign a contract or agreement is any easy way to verify an address.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  7. #7
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    "From" address and SPF record
    Thank you guys.
    Your comments are really helpful.

    I guess what still is not clear is From email.
    I was under the impression that CAN SPAM states that email should be valid for reply and indicate the sender. No?
    I heard that some affiliate use different domains (change them every 2 weeks) from which emails will be sent to avoid penalty of the domain.
    Would that action conflict with CANSPAM or not?

    Also one of the affiliates asks for an SPF record that needs to be added our end so that their outgoing server is not thought to be a a source of phising scam email But then the question, would anybody's server (our may be, I am not technical) be perceived as a source for it?

    I guess the main question... If affiliate do something that doesn't comply with CaNSPAM, who is liable (affiliates or advertiser)? And I mean to the point of criminal offense if there will be some spam claim by whatever accident?

    Thank you again...

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    New domains every other week? SPF record making it looks like it comes from you? RUN AWAY!

    BOTH the merchant and the affiliate are responsible, but the merchant is the much easier target when the FTC is looking for someone to come after.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  9. #9
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Do you know who the biggest users of SPF records are? Spammers! Most legitimate businesses haven't gotten around to SPF, spammers use it to try and sneak stuff through the filters. SPF doesn't prevent spam, it just prevents forgery.

    But.. don't try to build your campaign around what is permissible with CAN SPAM. You should not be pushing at the envelope of what is legal - set a clear, ethical policy on how you want affiliates to behave (on your terms, not theirs) and enforce it.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  10. #10
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    If you look at past FTC and customer lawsuit cases, it can go either to affiliate or merchant (even those requiring affiliates to agree to terms).... because the laws for the industry can still border 'gray' in judgment.

    For a few of our sites, we not only require affiliates to checkbox agree but also ask that they do separation of identity when performing this. You will lose some affiliates obviously so it all depends on what risk/reward that certain business needs to take.

    From what I know, the CAN SPAM act was made because companies were sending bulk email to shut down competitor servers. That's why the main requirements are unsubscribe permission and correct header/from tracing. Everything else is relatively open in terms of legality.

  11. #11
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    More questions abot large lists
    Platinum, what do you mean by separation of identity??
    Can you please clarify?

    I am still trying to wrap my head around what our policy should state as I want to make it specific.
    let's say...
    - link in the body of email should lead to your URL that has to remain permanent for a duration of the campaign
    - email address should clearly specify the same domain
    - your physical address should be specified in the bottom of the email
    - you should not request us or use on your own behalf SPF record ...

    Something along those lines... But I am still trying to understand what are the safe and reasonable definition for a list holders.

    Opt-in lists always sound to me like a term that makes no sense. Opt-in to what? Unless oped in to your offer directly form your web site... The rest seem to be irrelevant anyways as recipients still will complain since some time they don't even remember they subscribed to you offer, forget about any partner lists...

    So, what should be the ideal policy for affiliates with big co-registration or "opt-in to partner offers" lists, especially when lists are quite large?

    Can you share what yours states? Point by point... If you can...

    See, if 1+3=4 it's easy... But with such broad definition of what is legal and what is ethical... I am scratching my head...

    Thank you, guys, I truly appreciate your support.

  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I receive hundreds of spams every day. A large portion of those are CPA type offers through CPA networks. I have never "opted in", "opted in to partner offers", or "co-registered". It's just pure spam.

    Believe them if you want, but they're liars. Someone with a two-week old domain DOES NOT have millions of "opt in" subscribers.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  13. #13
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    Yes, Mike, but we would never be able to validate it...
    Therefore my questions are directed to develop a strict and well defined policy...
    And if you guys can share some common practices, i would really appreciate it...

    ...And few more questions that appeared as a result of conversations with some potential affiliates that are not approved for now till we get better roadmap...

    - who should handles the complains? affiliate or an advertiser?
    - is it legal for affiliates to use new ip address for new campaign so that the ip which is used is always white listed? so it doesn't get into spam
    - email spoofing, when affiliate use their domain but the email address displayed in FROM is client's... Is it a legal way handling large campaigns?

    (adding as I keep learning)

    thank you...

    Carl

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlisc
    - who should handles the complains? affiliate or an advertiser?
    - is it legal for affiliates to use new ip address for new campaign so that the ip which is used is always white listed? so it doesn't get into spam
    - email spoofing, when affiliate use their domain but the email address displayed in FROM is client's... Is it a legal way handling large campaigns?

    (adding as I keep learning)

    thank you...

    Carl
    - Complaints can go to the sender, their host, or you, and your host. Or both.
    - It's legal for mailers to use new IP addresses. To truly become "whitelisted" with the major mail providers, switching IP addresses hurts - True whitelisting only happens by having a track record of low spam reports to emails received ratios, and providing verifiable contact information to the ISPs.
    - Never let a mailer use your company's domain in the from field, unless it's your own list, and you wrote and sent the email (in other words, never). It's legal to receive an advertisement from another domain, as long as the email properly conforms to CAN-SPAM.

    As for opt-ins, this is not legally required by the CAN-SPAM act (after all, the title even says that you can spam ), and restrictions only exist on certain methods of how emails in the list were generated. It would do you well to read the following pages on the FTC's site:

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/busi...rce/bus61.shtm
    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/busi...ts/alt112.shtm

    I'm sure you could contact someone at the FTC for further clarification, though you'll probably get clarification here, too.

    Avoiding spam complaints isn't even that important - Just having an understanding host helps a ton. I used to run a website with a membership base of 600,000 users at its peak, and I'd regularly send newsletters and site updates out to the fully opt-in list of 600,000. Members would STILL report them as spam, though they were actively using the service and didn't request to stop receiving the emails!

  15. #15
    Full Member asr_guy's Avatar
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    The bottom line is that you can't prevent someone from doing bad stuff.

    All you can really do is catch them and then don't pay. Make sure your payout period is greater than the time it takes you to catch them.

    After a while the legit mailers (w/ double optin lists etc.) will be the only ones left.

    One tip is to require them to insert a "Seed email" to their list, so you see what they're sending out and ensure it meets your policy.

    2nd bonus tip: In addition, sign up to their list quietly w/ 2nd "secret seed". Why? If you just try think like a spammer you'll figure it out.

    Cheers.
    [URL=http://www.typoassassin.com/?utm_source=abestweb&utm_medium=forum&utm_content=p&utm_campaign=sig]Are these affiliates stealing from you?[/URL]

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador danay's Avatar
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    1. Require them to use their own redirects and host all images on their servers.
    2. Require them to send you a test email so that you can see that they are doing #1 above as well as all canspam requirements.
    3. Threaten not to pay unless they have an approved TEST email as stated in #2.
    4. Constantly monitor your domain by using services like spamhaus, etc.
    5. Ask them where you can sign up for their lists and then sign up at a totally different time so they don't know it's you.

    That's about it. As was already stated, you can't avoid the bad mailers 100%, but you can weed them out by going through these steps.

    Never let anyone mail your offer without approving a test first.
    Danay @ LunaSolMedia.com
    Global Perfomance Marketing. Global Niche Markets = Opportunity!
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