(At least I think thats the proper term. ) I am considering launching a new site, and I wanted to e-mail people with an obvious interest in its content. I have eyed a couple similar sites that make their users e-mail addresses accessible via forums. I am thinking about extracting the users addresses and using them for a mailing, calling attention to my site.
o Is it ethical to "farm" the e-mail addresses?
o Is it spamming (even though I KNOW those users have an enthusiasm for the subject matter and would likely find my future site useful)?
o Where do you find the software to accomplish this?
o Should I do it?
I find myself in the same situation a lot. A litle wile ago I did send the emails, and got pretty good response. However, I no longer do that. It is SPAM. doesn't matter if they are interested in it or not; they didn't ask you for it. Sorry...I know it "bites."
BTW, I would create a PERL script to spider the pages and extract anything in email@example.com format. It wouldn't be all that hard.
I have to agree with Rich. If they didn't ask for the email (opt-in) then it is spam. I guess it's not up to the spammer to assume the recipient will be interested.
If your willing to pay the consequences i.e having your site shutdown or your isp giving you the boot when someone reports you to http://www.spamcop.net or someone similiar then go for it.
If it's info that you really think they would be interested in then I would suggest that you set up a system for them to opt-in. I think the rewards will be better in the long run. By sending information by subscription only it will be hitting a more targeted audience who asked to recieve it and you can send it to them on a regular basis without the fear of your business being shutdown or other problems that result from spamming.
As an after thought (should have thought of this sooner. ), I would highly suggest that you join the forums you were eyeing and post as a regular user. If you have enough knowledge on the subject to show off, they will realize that your site is worth wile to visit.
I hope you had already considered that...I feel sorta dumb for not.
Thanks for helping me with my dilema
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>I would highly suggest that you join the forums you were eyeing and post as a regular user.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I did not mean that is is a bb. I used "forum" to describe a public area where info is posted. So its not an option... but good advise nonetheless, a "method" which is obviously used in the SitePoint forums.
Let me give you a tip that will save you and your business for all of eternity: ONLY opt-in works
I can easily track WHERE my spam came from. For example, on Slashdot my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Here my e-mail address is email@example.com. Therefore if I get an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org then I know where it is coming from. Also I don't use email@example.com. That's waaay to generic. I use 'qslack' or 'quinn' @ aboutpcs.com, because that is less likely to be harvested.
I have gotten more than one spammer's ISP account canceled and I don't feel sorry for them one bit. I don't mean to sound rude when I say this, but you know that spamming is bad and I won't hesitate to let everyone know that your company doesn't care about spam.
Take this scenario: Mailing list A suddenly splits into two sections: one about flowers and one about grass. Even if EVERY single subscriber to List A likes both topics, you should not, I repeat SHOULD NOT just assume that. Tell them about the new list and tell them how to subscribe to it--NOT how to unsubscribe from it, 'cos they are already subscribed (automatically). This has happened more than 5 times to me (including 2 times from friends) and I unsubscribed to each (except my friend's). To put it simply...I don't want e-mail if I didn't tell you I wanted it
I hope this helps. If it sounds harsh it's just because I have a strong opinion on the topic, it's not directed towards you.
I don't think you should do it because even though they might have an interest in my opinion it woul dbe unethecial and spamming to collect the e-mail addresses. Try something like http://www.postmasterdirect.com or something and they can do it and it won't be spamming, BUT they charge.
If I was you, I would stay away from the idea of collecting addresses and sending emails to people who didn't ask for them. It's called spamming and if I was one of the recepients, I would immediately report you to your ISP. Even if I was interested in the information you were offering, I still would not tolerate Spam.
One thing about protecting your emailaddress from harvesters: If you encode it with the HTML entities like "V" for "V" it is invisible to the address-collectors. If you are interested, I wrote a little script to do exactly that: http://jbbdesign.com/tools/email.php3
PS: I bought a can of SPAM (the meaty stuff) in Walmart today. I just couldn't resist when I saw it. It is going to sit right next to my computer...
i highly suggest not doing e-mail farming. when you go to send you will most likely get the server your sending through, your isp or webhost cancelled on you. Its not worth working all that time on your site then to have it cancelled and your reputation rewened because of spamming.