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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Should I say no to SPAM wishes of my client?

    Recently,
    I created web site for my client.

    Now he wants to promote his site by sending mass mail (SPAM).
    He asked me couple of things:
    1. To find email addresses (to recommend him, where to buy them)
    2. To create email that will be sent to these addresses
    3. To somehow send it


    Would you do this for your client? Which steps, if any, would you refuse?
    Which email list provider would you recommend? He needs to target specific countries in Europe. What prices can he expect for decent list?

    It is my clent, I cannot simply say NO.
    Last edited by papaja; Jul 25, 2006 at 02:19. Reason: Title didn't reflect post content

  2. #2
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    I would try to get him to understand the effectiveness of building his own TARGETED email database. It might take longer to develop this, but try to get him to see the advantages of targeted email campaigns rather than spamming any tom dick and harry.

    Sometimes they just wont budge though, so good luck with it.

  3. #3
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    How about genuine opt in lists where he can advertise his business at a cost. For example, ipoint.co.uk are a reward site in the UK and they send round offers every now and again for certain brands. He could pay for this and immediately and legally access hundreds of thousands of customers.

    This might also feel more suitable for you.

  4. #4
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Spam is one of the most irritating things about the Internet. You maybe can't change your client's mind about sending it, but you can "say no" politely. All you need do is explain to your client that Web Design is your area of expertise and that you wish to devote your time to building your business in that area alone.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  5. #5
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    I would explain that spamming would damage his reputation and have a detrimental effect on his web site. Then I would suggest building an opt in mailing list instead.

  6. #6
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    It is part of your responsibility as a web developer to teach the client what you know and that includes the best practices. You can't convince them of anything, but it is our responsibility to INFORM them. But as shyflower said, You can't convince them of anything.
    Sara

  7. #7
    Guru Meditation Error gnarly's Avatar
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    I'd happily create the e-mail. The rest I probably wouldn't touch with a barge-pole.

    It's up to you to tell the client that their reputation will likely be tarnished by doing this - and that their e-mail and web addresses will likely end up on spam blacklists - and that they're likely to fall foul of local data protection and privacy laws.

    Oh, and ask them how much do they enjoy reading through the dozens of unsolicited commercial emails they recieve every day? What about the junk-mail that comes through the door every day? That one's worked for me in the past.
    Olly Hodgson
    thinkdrastic.net

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast Net-Margin's Avatar
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    You could help the client set-up and e-mail base but possibly tell him to get his own database of e-mail addresses, but be sure to do the following things:

    • SPAM is not good
    • If he spams he will gain a bad reputation
    • He won't gain many clients
    • It's unprofessional


    You need to make him see that doing this will not do anything good to his company except give him a bad name and just annoy the hell out of people who will then just block the e-mail address off their inbox.

    Jason Hughs.

  9. #9
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    Exclamation

    Spam also causes other, real problems.

    In a lot of cases, one spam complaint will cause your ISP to disable your account. And if people can't access your website, then they can't buy stuff -- and you don't make money.

    A few domain registrars will also disable your domain name (I've heard that GoDaddy has done this to some people).

    It may also be the case that your client will have to pay admin fees to the ISP for each spam message sent as a "cleanup fee", "admin fee", etc.

    There may also be legal problems, depending on where your client is located. In the US, CAN-SPAM prohibits unsolicited commercial e-mail. Other countries have similar laws. Your client would be exposing him/herself to legal problems.

    And if your client is so fond of the possibilities of spamming, simply ask him/her if s/he is willing to go out on the street and start telling everybody walking by about their business. It's the same thing: untargeted prospecting. Business is about building relationships.

    Show me the money? Show me the relationship first!

    Sincerely,
    Tom Beltin

  10. #10
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Excellent post Tom! Welcome to Site Point Forums!
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  11. #11
    reputation consultant ThaVincy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardo
    I would explain that spamming would damage his reputation and have a detrimental effect on his web site. Then I would suggest building an opt in mailing list instead.
    As a reputation expert myself, I can assure you that even opt-in email causes some clients to become frustrated with the senders, especially if it's to hard or even nearly impossible to unsubscribe... Spam, and in fact any kind of unsollicited mail has become the number one frustration for internet users, and I try to talk my clients into other means of online marketing such as SEO and advertising, rather than sending out mailings other than newsletters containing non-promotional material.

    On a sidenote, I use my hosts catchall function for email to determine whether they sell or provide my address to other companies. For example, when registering at Sitepoint, I used an address sitepoint@mydomain.com, so if I ever receive spam on the address I know they've chosen cheap bucks over client loyalty.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy ldcdc's Avatar
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    It is my clent, I cannot simply say NO.
    Try to educate him then. If he's not listening, then you just have to say no! He might be your client, but you're not his slave.
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Addict Corobori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldcdc
    Try to educate him then.
    Educating the client isn't that easy. I tried a few times and received answer that themselves are receiving spams and they didn't feel the reputation of the companies behing those mails were tarnished. As a matter of fact they never saw a website grounded for having send spam.
    Worse than that one of my client had a go at it and his business never went as well since he started sending mass mails.

    For me the problem would stop by itself if SPAM didn't work but I reckon it is working. How on earth can I educate my wife who just open any mails reaching her inbox and actually mail/call a few people back ? Unfortunately I think out there a lot of people are like her.
    Jean-Luc
    Corobori WebDesign
    Working in the Concepcion area, Chile, since 1999
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  14. #14
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    There are increasing numbers of anti-spam laws, both criminal and civil, in states & countries around the world. I would tell him no, it is not something you can be a part of, and I would tell him to consult with an attorney that deals in Internet related issues before doing it because you don't want him to end up sued for millions of dollars or end up in prison.

    I'm guessing he won't talk to an attorney at all, and just decide against it.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict Corobori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    There are increasing numbers of anti-spam laws, both criminal and civil, in states & countries around the world. I would tell him no, it is not something you can be a part of, and I would tell him to consult with an attorney that deals in Internet related issues before doing it because you don't want him to end up sued for millions of dollars or end up in prison.
    it.
    A couple of cases but for how many spammers ? Unfortunately spammers still have a few years ahead of them. Most of the countries don't have any strict anti-spam law, one of them being the one I am living in, and those having one aren't rushing to use of them.

    You would be amazed how many spams I am receiving each da y from fellow webdesign and hosting companies.

    Coming back to the original message of this thread I would explain all the risks to the client and let him know I wouldn't do the job involved in the design and the actual dispatch of the mails.
    Jean-Luc
    Corobori WebDesign
    Working in the Concepcion area, Chile, since 1999
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Evangelist bronze trophy Derek Sheppard's Avatar
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    All of the above is well-taken.

    So review the risks with your client and tell him that it's a very specialized task that you are not personally equipped to handle because of the legal constraints. Then give him a list of firms that will do a professional job for him if he wants to proceed. There are many such companies that know what's required and will provide just the services he wants.

    Try here for firms to recommend: http://www.google.com/search?q=targeted+email+marketing

    or get an education on the subject here: http://www.wilsonweb.com/cat/cat.cfm...t=me_Email-Gen

    Personally, I'd refer.

  17. #17
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corobori
    A couple of cases but for how many spammers ? Unfortunately spammers still have a few years ahead of them. Most of the countries don't have any strict anti-spam law, one of them being the one I am living in, and those having one aren't rushing to use of them.

    You would be amazed how many spams I am receiving each da y from fellow webdesign and hosting companies.

    Coming back to the original message of this thread I would explain all the risks to the client and let him know I wouldn't do the job involved in the design and the actual dispatch of the mails.
    Do you know for sure the laws in your country? Do you know if your country has any treaties with other countries in regards to the enforcement of legal verdicts? (hint, most countries do). Does your country have any extradition treaties?

    The thing is, the crime, takes place where the person receives the mail, not where you send it, so even if your country doesn't have a law against it, if the recipient's country does, and if your country has such treaties with the recipient's country (or if you personally have any financial assets in the recipient's country) you're still at risk from legal action.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  18. #18
    Now available in Orange Tijmen's Avatar
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    You should really inform him of the possible consequences of sending out huge amounts of spam. I assume he believes it will make him a rich man with lots of new customers, but the reality is that the majority won't really appreciate the e-mail. And they won't visit his site and use his services, furthermore like other people have already pointed out.

    He might also face legal actions against him, and end up without a ISP. Who can take down his hosting for sending out large amounts of spam messages. I seriously doubt that after you told him all the negative consequences it might have, that he still wants to go ahead with it.

    And i wouldn't send it myself (if he still wants it), you better find a way that he can send it whenever he wants. Otherwise, you might be the one being blamed for sending out the spam.
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  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Several countries in Europe has laws, where each e-mail send is fined.If you help him making an illegal ad campaign, and you know it's illegal, you could find yourself facing both civil and criminal cases rbought against you.

    If he insists on you helping him, you have two options:
    1) Drop him as a client
    2) Make the campaign, but charge the proper price (which, since you might not be able to find any work, ever again - and if you decide to make a spam campaign, I would genuinely hope this to be true - would be an up.front advance payment of your entire life salery (e.g. USD 100,000 for, say, 40 years, or USD 4,000,000))
    Christian Ankerstjerne
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  20. #20
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    At worst, it's illegal. At best, it's innefective, annoying and rude.

    Just say no, in a nice way, and tell them why. Then be done with it.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. — Socrates

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  21. #21
    dooby dooby doo silver trophybronze trophy
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    Does your client not get SPAM or something? Does he not spend time in the morning getting rid of any annoying garbage from his inbox? Has he not spent time setting up mail rules to remove SPAM?

    Is he a complete nutjob?

    Has anybody ever clicked a SPAM email and thought - 'oh, I really need some of that'...

    If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you are probably best to politely decline and walk away.

    It would be seriously detrimental to his business and to a degree YOURS. If people see that you have created the website they are getting SPAM from, even if you had nothing to do with it, it still comes back to you.

    There are 2 ways to think about this:

    1) Business is business - it pays the mortgage
    2) Your business - Be selfish and think about yourself.
    Mike Swiffin - Community Team Advisor
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Addict JerXs's Avatar
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    If you find it unethical dont do it, That simple. Im sure your client will find someone else to get things rollin for him if his mind is set.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Member illumina's Avatar
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    I wouldnt do a single thing helping towards someone spamming.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Addict Corobori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    Do you know for sure the laws in your country? Do you know if your country has any treaties with other countries in regards to the enforcement of legal verdicts? (hint, most countries do). Does your country have any extradition treaties
    Yes I do know the laws in the country I am living in as far as spam is concerned (not mine actually) what I also know is that extradition works only when you do something which is illegal in the country you're living in. But that is not the point.
    Don't get angry at me I dislike spam too. What I want to say that they are countries where they do have laws for anti-spam but they are just no enforced because those countries have other priorities to deal with. I'll keep you updated when somebody will be fined for jailed for spamming here, better sooner than later but isn't going to be tomorrow !
    Jean-Luc
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    Working in the Concepcion area, Chile, since 1999
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  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Did your client specifically state that they wanted to SPAM people? If they are requesting to actually sent out SPAM you should tell them NO. If not, maybe you could consider email sources that can do the same but is not SPAM. Could it be that the just want to market via legitimate email advertising? There are opt-in lists that require double opt-in and email verification to ensure only those who want to be on the list actually are. I think the only thing you would not be able to do is collect the email addresses for your client as you would be going through other parties that would send the emails to their own lists.
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