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Reputation check, please


mrmaxx
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I, personally, don't care much for what Constant Contact does, but I guess organizations like them are a necessary evil, as many internet providers won't let you send out more than a handful of emails at a time. That being said, one of our sales guys uses them for sending out announcements to his customers, etc. Recently he included one of our sales managers on his list and the message got held up in our spam filter system. I explained that ConstantContact is somewhat like a "legal spammer" (I know, contradiction in terms, but how else to explain it to a non-geek? <_< )

The sales manager in question has asked me to do some research on how anti-spam organizations feel about ConstantContact and get back to him.

I'd like to know what you folks feel about them.

Moderator: if you can find a better forum for this question, please feel free to move it.

Thanks!

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I'd like to know what you folks feel about them.

Personally I don't enjoy their approach but my experience is that they are very careful about spamming. They are careful to ensure that message recipients give their consent when signing up for Email lists. That said, I could add my client list to a Constant Contact list that I had created without additional consent but I have no evidence that CC itself is involved in spamming.

I guess a spammer could but into their service but I've not come across that happening and a number of my contacts use Constant Contact - so I'm on those CC lists quite legitimately.

Andrew

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<snip>

I explained that ConstantContact is somewhat like a "legal spammer" (I know, contradiction in terms, but how else to explain it to a non-geek? <_< )

<snip>

...Nope, nothing contradictory about it! "Ethical spammer" would be a contradiction. :) <g>
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I've not had any problems with stuff sent using the Constant Contact service. I had some minor issues with some stuff from a competitor, Vertical Response, but that was due to stupid mistakes on the part of one of their customers and was resolved. I looked into this kind of "email blast" service for the church-based organization I work for and wound up using Contactology.

DT

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Thanks for the comments so far. I'm interested in getting as many viewpoints as possible. I did find a thread from a couple years ago in NANAE that basically made them out to be the worst devils, second only to Spamford Wallace. But Ellen seems to suggest that they are decent, so I think I'll advise management that they are safe to be associated with. :-)

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I belong to a couple of lists run by people who use Constant Contact. I've not had any problems that I can recall, either receiving the mail sent to me (through SpamCop and my other filters), or getting messages I didn't sign up for.

In these cases, I personally know the people who set up these lists (i.e., Constant Contact's customers), and spamming would be the last thing on their minds.

I would venture to call Constant Contact an "ethical bulk-mailer;" I would not use the S-word because in my experience I do not receive unsolicited mail from them. They publish a policy that indicates that they do not permit their customers to send unsolicited mail.

The sad fact is that spammers have made it extremely difficult even for a well-intentioned and honest individual to send his own bulk mail. I think it is reasonable for someone to turn to a service like Constant Contact to help them with the process.

Hard to say why the Constant Contact mail was blocked by your employer's mail system. Might have more to do with what the filter did, and less to do with what Constant Contact did.

-- rick

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I, personally, don't care much for what Constant Contact does, but

Sorry for being slow on this thread, but I didn't have experience. I noticed a spam sent by Constant Contact tonight. They, CC, has not control over their clients list, but spam is spam.

Times must be hard, here is how I think I got on the new CC mailing list.

  1. In 2004 I closed a business.
  2. Free hard copy magazines stopped after a year. Electronic copies stopped after 2 yrs.
  3. Last week I again received an industry E-magazine.
  4. Following Miss Betsy suggestion I sent an email explaining the business had been closed for 5 yrs, and I don't unsubscribe to things I didn't subscribe to.
  5. Got spam from business related industry supplier sent by Constant Contact
  6. Reported spam

Gives meaning to Constant Contact. Darn! its only been 5 years!

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I discovered that a very large hosting company uses Constant Contact as a way for their clients to do mailings. I don't know what advice that Constant Contact gives customers, but I suspect that they do not give a lot of advice on 'best practices'.

Many business people do not understand that, unlike snail mail addresses, it is not a good idea to add any email address you happen to get to an email mailing list. And, I would bet that most receivers accept that they will get a certain amount of 'junk' mail from businesses they have done business with, and from businesses related to their business. They don't consider it spam - which has become synonymous with porn, scams, and shoddy merchandise rather than unsolicited email. If the email has an unsubscribe, they unsubscribe, perhaps, but more than likely simply delete or block future mailings.

In addition, they are used to being asked to whitelist newsletters, etc. because content filters often do catch legitimate newsletters. I have a report sent to me from a large bank (that is often spoofed). Then it is forwarded to a hotmail account. Hotmail tagged it as a phish - even though the headers are all legitimate and point back to the bank. There is a link in the email, but it again clearly goes to the bank website. There is no other language that would be picked up for content filters. We had another newsletter that went directly to a hotmail account that many hotmail account holders were not getting even after marking it safe and putting it on a contact list. The list owner had to contact hotmail directly in order to get it to go through. I don't know how many emails from businesses that I used to get regularly, have now disappeared, because I never bothered to whitelist them.

So, between expecting that kind of email, not equating it with spam, and having it disappear on its own or being able to unsubscribe, probably Constant Contact does not get very many 'reports' of spam against its mail servers.

Miss Betsy

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I'm not a user of Constant Contact...but I have been blocked from receiving emails from those who use their lists, 3 times that I know of over the past 5 years. So I don't think much of them. I've spoken to both the users and a couple of different supervisors at Constant Contact - any email from 'spamcop' or 'spamhaus' is blocked/prevented from being sent.

They attempted to claim that just the use of the word 'spam' makes it spam. I suggested that perhaps since the sending of "spam" is illegal that those who allow spammers might be held partially responsible in our legal system. I also suggested that perhaps since spammers use listing services like theirs and pay for that 'privilege' Constant Contact doesn't want to lose business so they just block email going to someone who might report the spammers.

As far as I'm concerned Constant Contact is just a willing tool of the spammers. I also asked about this a year or so ago in this forum & got more or less blown off cuz noone could believe that any business would actually have that as an actual practice. Nice to see that it's actually being considered now.

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I wouldn't be surprised that Constant Contact keeps the bottom line in view. That's the way of many business entities on the web. Many merchants still don't believe that unsolicited = spam.

I'm not sure that ya'll are getting what Constant Contact is...a business will set up a list thru Constant Contact. When the business sends out it's 'notices', it just hits that link that allows Constant Contact to send out the emails. Constant Contact is the one blocking any email to 'spamcop'/'spamhaus'

not the business.

I didn't find out that emails were being blocked until a friend called me and asked why I was blocking his emails. He was actually using the email service of the local ISP. When I contacted the ISP, I was told they had nothing to do with it, it was the listing service they used...Constant Contact.

This also happened with a bookstore who was trying to send me notices of what was going on there. And my Storytellers Guild can't contact me cuz they use Constant Contact to send out emails.

Constant Contact does not want to know what their business 'contacts' are sending out...if it's legitimate notices/emails or spam.

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I also asked about this a year or so ago in this forum & got more or less blown off cuz noone could believe that any business would actually have that as an actual practice.

I really don't believe you understood all the things being said in your previous Topic found at http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=9212 .... I fail to see anything resembling your description of "being blown off" .... I see plenty of dialog going back and forth there.

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As far as I'm concerned Constant Contact is just a willing tool of the spammers.

I rather doubt that. As I mentioned above, I recently did some comparing of Constant Contact's services and policies with its primary competitors (Vertical Response, iContact, Contactology, and a few more). I did some "try before you buy" testing of their services and eventually wound up with Contactology. AFAIK, all of them are reputable service providers and have fairly strong anti-spamming policies in place.

I also asked about this a year or so ago in this forum & got more or less blown off cuz noone could believe that any business would actually have that as an actual practice.

Actually, your previous attempt at asking about this a year ago failed primarily because you would never identify Constant Contact as the service in question. It also didn't help that you referred to them as a "listing service," because that's not what they are....they don't list anything....they facilitate the broadcasting of email newsletters, announcements, marketing, etc. to "lists" that are supposed to be entirely composed of people who have given some sort of permission to the senders. CC and its competitors are better referred to as "email marketing services."

Tell you what....I'll see if I can get my spamcop.net address put onto a list at Constant Contact and wait for the next broadcast and report back here the results.

DT

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Why you are mad at Constant Contact is not because they allow spam to be sent, but because they block emails to you on the basis that you have an address with spam in the name. That is if I understand correctly.

I don't know what the 'strong anti-spam' policies they have in place are, but if they are a reputable emailing service then they probably do something if they get a spam report. They also apparently monitor outgoing mail to prevent spam. It would, probably, be better if they educated their customers on 'best practices' also rather than trying to prevent spam reports (if your logic is correct).

Unfortunately, email mailing services have found that many recipients are not careful about reporting a list that they had agreed to be on. We had a mailing list admin of a /paid/ mailing list whose customers reported the list they had paid to get. So there might be another reason why email mailing services do not want email to go to spamcop or spamhaus addresses - to protect them from mailing list recipients who don't pay attention and rather than unsubscribe, report.

I would think the people who can do the best at getting them to change their policy are their customers who can't send you email that you want.

Miss Betsy

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I'm back with a little more info on Constant Contact -- I tried using the "Forward email" link found at the bottom of a message broadcast using CC, and while I was able to forward it to a non-SC email address, the copy I tried to forward to my "spamcop.net" address never arrived. That's an indication that they are probably blocking the sending of messages to addresses containing the string "spam."

I found some (old) confirmation of that here:

http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=276092

In that message, the CC user claims that the wouldn't allow any addresses to be subscribed containing:

info, webmaster, spam, or admin

A little more research shows that CC actually thinks pretty highly of the blocklists maintained by SpamCop and SpamHaus:

http://www.constantcontact.com/learning-ce...me11-issue4.jsp

Well-maintained, reputable blocklists operate with clear listing and delisting policies. They provide reliable points of contact and their records are kept up-to-date with current information. SBL (SpamHaus blacklist) and spam Cop are two such reputable, well- maintained blocklists.

More from the CC website (from a FAQ section):

http://constantcontact.custhelp.com/cgi-bi...hp?p_faqid=1969

SpamCop: This blacklist adds IP addresses to its list based on the ratio of spam complaints to volume of email sent. An IP address can be added and removed several times even during a 24-hour period depending on the frequency of sampling by SpamCop.

All email marketing, even fully confirmed opt-in mailings, generate some complaints. So, from time-to-time and generally for short periods, Constant Contact is listed on SpamCop. We monitor this carefully and, if a particular customer is causing the complaints, we either help them clean up their lists, or, if they don't have a permission-based list, we terminate their account.

I'll go ahead with my experiment, asking a list owner using CC to try to add my SC email address and send a broadcast, but it may be until sometime next week before that process is complete.

If confirmed, there's not much someone with a "spamcop.net" can do if they want to receive stuff sent using CC, other than ask JT to change them over to "cesmail.net" perhaps, or receive the stuff at an alternate address.

I'm sure glad I chose one of CC's competitors...but I'll try subscribing my SC address over there and see what happens. :-)

DT

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  • 7 months later...

Well...I've been away from the forums for a while, but I said I'd come back with more info about Constant Contact and I'm keeping that promise. :-)

I now have a Constant Contact account associated with my IT "day job" and tried subscribing my "spamcop.net" address to some lists. Although I was able to put the address into their system (as well as some "info[at]" addresses), when I tried broadcasting messages to the lists including that address and then go into their Bounce reporting system, I find that they (falsely) report that my address doesn't exist--that it is supposedly producing "user unknown" errors (which is unlikely).

So, they don't seem to actively block list owners from adding spamcop or even role addresses, their system might be programmed to dev/null delivery to those addresses and report them to the list owner as bad addresses. I'll have to do more testing with the "info" addresses to see if they're actually receiving the CC broadcasts or not.

Peace,

DT

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