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  1. #26
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mmj
    It is possible, then, that he [weirdbeard] was getting falsely accused of sending unsolicited mail.

    I hadn't expected such a heated discussion. I think aspen has some fair points to make, points which come from the straight down the line so-called "legal" side. and whilst this is fair, I think reasonable judgement could distinguish my kind of "spam" with the spam that people are more familiar with (generally the links to the XXsites and the "amazing new offer only $30" type things -- ICQ is really bad for this). But this of course does rely on reasonable judgement, something which jaiem has illustrated (and in fact aspen's general attitude towards the whole thing) doesn't exist.

    But with this is in mind, I got quite worried, so checked out the site of the company that I have contacted. They provide an email address to use for contacts, but do not illicitly say "comments/suggestions/potential web designers" etc.

    So have I spammed them?
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  2. #27
    ********* Addict jaiem's Avatar
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    IMO, no you didn't spam them. Companies are contacted all the time about employment. Whole books are written about being "creative" in your ways to contact employers.

    If they are going to consider your job search a spam then you probably don't want to work for them anyway.
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  3. #28
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I'm not hysterical over this, I'm just explaining to you the facts.

    I know a guy who used to send out an opt-in newsletter until someone complained to his host that he sent spam. The host didn't give a hoot about anything. No trial, no hearing, no otherside-of-the-story, just pulled the plug. For all he knew it could have been a competitor! (and don't think for one split second your competition wouldn't think of making false accusations against you to shut you down!!!!)
    If you'll read your host's user agreement you should find something about them reserving the right to cancel your account for any reason at any time.

    If you think your host does not have a fair spam policy then why are they your host?

    A good host would investigate the complaint before taking action.

    The argument over cost doesn't hold water. No law says advertising has to cost bundles. Every company from GE and Microsoft down to mom&pop deli is looking for the cheapest promotion/highest return method. Nothing says you need to spend a fortune on it.
    This isn't about advertising, this is about unsolicited email. Unsolicited faxes are illegal, do you know why? I've explained it in this thread once already. Sending an unsolicited fax is very cheap for the person doing the sending, but it costs more for those on the receiving end.

    Its not about making sure advertising is expensive, its about being practical and rational about use of the system.

    If we allowed unsolicited faxes it would very quickly make owning a fax machine too costly, and people would stop using them.

    If we allowed unsolicited email it would literally make email unuseable.

    Its not about making sure companies spend money, its about protecting the email system. Its about protecting consumers.

    The reason money comes into this is in your comparison with standard mail. The reason it is not illegal to send unsolicited standard mail is that a company cannot do it cheaply thus it has not become a problem.

    It it helps you think of it like this. What would happen if everyone suddenly got 50 magazines delivered a day. How could it all fit inside the mailbox? The postman would have to save some for the next day, but then the next day you get 50 more, and so he pushes them back more, and the next day 50 more so things get pushed back more. As a result of this your important mail is always late.

    With standard mail that can't happen, its just too expensive for companies to send out that much stuff. Yet with email this is a real possibility. And you may not know this but you do have an email box, and it does have a size limit. Most are 2 MB. If your mailbox is full the message will either be delayed or simply returned to the sender.

    If we allowed spam mailboxes would quickly fill up, making email useable for standard communications. It would basically kill the email system.
    Last edited by aspen; Sep 28, 2001 at 14:06.
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  4. #29
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by weirdbeardmt


    I hadn't expected such a heated discussion. I think aspen has some fair points to make, points which come from the straight down the line so-called "legal" side. and whilst this is fair, I think reasonable judgement could distinguish my kind of "spam" with the spam that people are more familiar with (generally the links to the XXsites and the "amazing new offer only $30" type things -- ICQ is really bad for this). But this of course does rely on reasonable judgement, something which jaiem has illustrated (and in fact aspen's general attitude towards the whole thing) doesn't exist.

    But with this is in mind, I got quite worried, so checked out the site of the company that I have contacted. They provide an email address to use for contacts, but do not illicitly say "comments/suggestions/potential web designers" etc.

    So have I spammed them?
    Nope, if they provide the address its a solicitation.

    I've sent plenty of proposals to people, and I usually assume their address is webmaster@whatever but I always look for a solicitation on their website first. Like I've said I didn't do that once and got in trouble for it. Its very important that you make sure they solicit contact somewhere.

    Also this has a very human aspect to it. You can only get in trouble for unsolicited email if you are reported. If the person reading it doesn't mind it then you can get away with it. It doesn't mean its not unsolicited, it just means you got away with it.
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  5. #30
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    This is your own policy from Ocean View Host:

    We do not allow spamming or unsolicited email to be sent from an Vener Net Inc server or to be sent referring to any domain name or email address maintained on a Vener Net Inc server package.
    We do not allow email lists or bulk email software to be sold on our servers.
    Vener Net Inc reserves the right to remove any account with 10 days prior notice.
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  6. #31
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Originally posted by aspen


    Also this has a very human aspect to it. You can only get in trouble for unsolicited email if you are reported. If the person reading it doesn't mind it then you can get away with it. It doesn't mean its not unsolicited, it just means you got away with it.
    Aspen -- you seem to have the 411 on the spam issues -- -- for my own peace of mind -- do YOU think I sent an unsolicited email?
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  7. #32
    ********* Addict jaiem's Avatar
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    Originally posted by aspen
    A good host would investigate the complaint before taking action.
    Ideally, yes. But don't hold your breath or bet the ranch on it. A host isn't going to get in the middle of this, especially when threats of suits and fines are being thrown around and the law is so vague on all this.

    Which again really is unfair. If you rented a physical store front and someone complained to your landlord that you did something wrong, the landlord wouldn't give a hoot as long as you pay your rent and he isn't being served with court papers. He'd just say "Take it up with the store owner."

    A host is in a bad situation. They can not be judge over this. If the person making the complaint goes to thier upstream provider they can loose thier entire conntection. That can impact hundreds of other customers. It's a very imperfect situation but the host can't afford to jeopardize his whole customer base over 1 site. So guess who looses? It sucks big time but that's reality.
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  8. #33
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by weirdbeardmt


    Aspen -- you seem to have the 411 on the spam issues -- -- for my own peace of mind -- do YOU think I sent an unsolicited email?
    From what you described no. If they provide contact information on their website then they're soliciting the email.
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  9. #34
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Originally posted by aspen


    From what you described no. If they provide contact information on their website then they're soliciting the email.
    So in that case the company who I sent an email to enquiring about a job possibility, to an address that was openly available on their website, falsely accused me of unsolicited email?
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  10. #35
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    They accused you did they? Yes they're incorrect. Of course without actually seeing the website I can't speak with 100% certainty but you should tell them that by posting contact information without any disclaimer that they are soliciting any and all emails people want want to send them.

    If they put up "Write to us about suggestions on this website at me@domain.com" then only emails about the website are solicited, an ad about viagra is still unsolicited.
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  11. #36
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Figures. And thanks for the advice. That job thing was ages ago, but I am waiting to hear back from the company I recently approached.

    Hopefully if they do consider it to be spam, they will either a) ignore it, or b) politely refuse it. Either way, I don't want to lose my host!

    Now I need to work on getting rid of these bloody fliers that keep coming through my front door from estate agents asking if I want to sell my house!
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  12. #37
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    And getting back to the intended topic, what IS an acceptable way of gaining new work? Are there any good links of UK based agencies who advertise for their clients for freelance work and that kind of stuff?
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  13. #38
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    I chatted with my host about this (what they would do if I were accused of spamming), via email. I explained that I run a single opt-in newsletter.

    My host said that as long as I could prove that I ran an opt-in newsletter, my site would not be suspended. It still doesn't provide me with 100% confidence, but at least I know that I have a level of trust between myself and my host, and that they would not shut me down first and ask questions later.

    Of course, they (as a host) are obliged to look into the matter, so they certainly would make an attempt to resolve the matter whenever somebody makes a complaint.

    --

    To answer weirdbeard's question, a lot of freelancers approach their potential clients directly. As long as it's not unsolicited email, then it is suitable. 'Cold calling' is a way many people do business I would think, not to mention snail mail (however, snail mail is no longer preferred by many web industry companies).
    Last edited by mmj; Sep 29, 2001 at 01:03.
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  14. #39
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    What we usually do is cold call them as a potential customer. Dont say who you are just ask if they have a website, if they say yes ask the address and go there (maybe they need it redone) if they say no then act disappointed and hang up.

    Now, if you talked to a manager or an owner, its in the top of their mind that they're customers are interested in a website. So then you follow them up with a standard mail letter in a few days.

    This isn't really for web companies, but brick and mortar businesses.
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  15. #40
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    I used to work in a callcentre where I handled calls for about 50 well established companies. So therefore I knew that if a customer had requested a brochure, but had neglected to "tick the box" then it was acceptable to call or contact them with regards to other services.

    However, I did on occasion have to do some cold calling, which was possibly the most frightening experience of my life, in as much as you get a lot of angry people throwing obscenities at you.

    However, IMO there is certainly a difference between cold calling and cold-calling having researched the area first. You are not to know whether or not the person you contact is in need of your services or not, and in many cases they will refuse, but on the odd occasion they will say yes. Either way, I think it is worth a shot.

    I think the vast majority of the problems with "spam" is its literal nature -- the same damn thing is sent to a million people, instantly triggering the delete key action. If you address and write the contact personally, then it will, hopefully, make the person stop and think, even if the end result is a no go.
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  16. #41
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Well, I got a reply. Thankfully, they didn't mind at all at having been approached.

    Nevertheless they didn't want any work done as they do it all inhouse.

    Oh well. Least I know the email can't be far off (even though I still need to write the damned company website!!)

    Thanks for the help/advice etc.
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