A letter to the editor sent to Ken Magill of Direct News / Magilla Marketing
* Reposted with Permission from Neil's Personal Blog.


Thank-you for your April 1 column 'Anonymous Group Takes Aim at Spamhaus', it is no joke.

Consider for a moment what the circumstance for the email world would be, were the people behind Online Marketing Advocacy Group to be successful in putting The Spamhaus Project out of business.

Literally hundreds of millions of user inboxes would be left unprotected. Spam would flow, unabated, into them. How then, would users react? I imagine a goodly portion of them would simply give up on the medium. We have already seen evidence of users either migrating to social networking closed gardens or dumping email altogether, how much more tempting will these alternates be in such a world?

ISPs would scramble to put other measures into place, using DNSBLs far more draconian those of Spamhaus.

Legitimate marketers will be severely affected, with a far, far lessened ability to get their messages delivered, or actually seen, amidst the blizzard of spam.

Is a listing on Spamhaus onerous enough to sue the company out of existence? I imagine it must be for some of the highest degree of frustration to be listed at Spamhaus. However, in both my personal and professional life I have never experienced anything but professionalism and ease of use with their products. The clients I have encountered with Spamhaus listings who made the appropriate changes were quickly delisted, plain and simple as that.

I expect of the tens of thousands of legitimate marketers who are not listed at present, some may have had some unfortunate intersection with Spamhaus, and had to change their practices. At present, they are humming along happily. To them I ask – do you like getting your mail to the inbox of your subscribers? Then do not sit on your hands, and allow this pernicious, short-sighted initiative to move forward an inch without a challenge:

Contribute to Spamhaus in any way possible; they surely have a legal defense fund to fight against this spurious attack, pony up some money!

Strictly follow industry guidelines – the Messaging Anti-abuse Working Group has several available through their website (including a terrific new paper on email authentication, check it out – all these documents have been developed with the full participation of senders, receivers, CAUCE and Spamhaus associates.

Agitate in industry associations like the DMA and ESPC to very publicly voice and undertake initiatives against the actions of the cowardly Online Marketing Advocacy Group and indeed for The Spamhaus Project. This may cause some internal pain to these groups. It is my understanding that some of their members, in fact, very vocal members are the main supporters of this attack-dog group. Take a stance, divest yourselves of these sectors of the industry that do nobody any good, far least, the ever-loving recipient of email

Be forewarned, if you don't take an active stance now, today, and these vile back-room people are successful, you will doubtlessly wish you had done so. It will hurt your business, and in these business climes, I'd say that in and of itself is a very brave stance indeed. Good luck with that.

Neil Schwartzman
Executive Director
CAUCE: The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email