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pinhepe1
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Hi all,

recently my portuguese company marketing email was identified as spam.

Although I understand the use of spam Black Lists, I was very suprised to see that someone reported our emails as spam.

My question for the forum:

If Portugal has a LAW that states, that sending email marketing to a company (not private email) is not spam, how can some users (in Portugal), that have these emails on their visiting card has working email, report our email as spam.

By LAW the only thing we are obliged to have is OPT-out, and clear identification of the company.

If you know portuguese, the LAW can be found here:

Local Portuguese LAW

www.portolegal.com/spam-DL7-2004.html (sorry for the link not working, but spam word should be uppercase

If I'm according Portuguese LAW (where my email server is hosted), why am I beeing accused of spam ?

Regards,

Pedro

Edited by pinhepe1
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Bom dia, Pedro,

recently my portuguese company marketing email was identified as spam.

<snip>

If Portugal has a LAW that states, that sending email marketing to a company (not private email) is not spam, how can some users (in Portugal), that have these emails on their visiting card has working email, report our email as spam.

By LAW the only thing we are obliged to have is OPT-out, and clear identification of the company.

<snip>

If I'm according Portuguese LAW (where my email server is hosted), why am I beeing accused of spam ?

<snip>

...If I understand your question correctly, you have confused two different issues. Your question seems to be asking: why have we been accused of violating Portuguese spam law? The answer is, you haven't! You have only been accused of doing what the receiver of your e-mail believes to be spam. See, for example, see the SpamCop Wiki entry "spam." Please note, especially, "MAPS Definition of 'spam'." Edited by turetzsr
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Thanks for the quick reply.

Thats exacly my point.

Shouldn't the receiver of my message be informed, that if his email is from a Portuguese company, he should not report it as spam, and instead he can call that company or just click the opt-out link on the mail message ?

Isn't this user going against the portuguese law ?

Shall I pursuit this user legally ? (of course not!)

But I think it's not legally correct to include my IP address on spam black lists.

Is there a way to invert this situation ?

Regards,

Pedro

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<snip>

Shouldn't the receiver of my message be informed, that if his email is from a Portuguese company, he should not report it as spam, and instead he can call that company or just click the opt-out link on the mail message ?

<snip>

...No. First, opting out of correspondence to which one has not previously opted in is widely considered to be not good practice. Second, the person who reported the spam is under no obligation to use the definition specified in Portuguese (or any other) law.
Isn't this user going against the portuguese law ?
...In my opinion, no. If you had been accused of violating the law then my answer would have been "yes," but you have not been accused of violating the law, you have only been accused of what the receiver of your e-mail believes to be spam, by her/his definition, not by the definition of Portuguese law.
<snip>

But I think it's not legally correct to include my IP address on spam black lists.

...Including you on a blacklist is not a legal action, it is simply what it is, which is a listing which says you have sent e-mail to people who define it to be spam. There is no law anywhere, as far as I know, that says that anyone is required to take any action based on the inclusion of an IP address in a blacklist and there is no law of which I'm aware that says that someone may not take an action based on the inclusion of an IP address in a blacklist. You will see no reference to any law in the SpamCop Wiki link to which I pointed you, above 72072[/snapback].
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Shouldn't the receiver of my message be informed, that if his email is from a Portuguese company, he should not report it as spam, and instead he can call that company or just click the opt-out link on the mail message ?

No... What come into play here are SpamCop's rules. Basically, if the email was unsolicited, it can be reported as spam.

Isn't this user going against the portuguese law ?

Shall I pursuit this user legally ? (of course not!)

But I think it's not legally correct to include my IP address on spam black lists.

I have not read the law, but I would expect the law states you can not be punished by the Portugese authorities or in Portugese courts for sending compliant messages. I highly doubt it is illegal for the receivers of unsolicited email to complain about the messages. The blocklists generally have no national borders. Can you point to the part where you believe it is illegal for someone to report your message?

Is there a way to invert this situation ?

Yes, Stop sending unsolicited emails. Even if it is technically legal, it is not looked on very highly in any business that I am aware of. You just may be alienating alot of the people you are targeting. I will buy nothing in my personal or professional life that has sent me an unsolicited message. Most of my co-workers state the same.

P.S. Your link is not working and generates a 404 error. The spam word should be capitalized. THis forum software overrides that to honor Hormel's request.

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If Portugal has a LAW that states, that sending email marketing to a company (not private email) is not spam, how can some users (in Portugal), that have these emails on their visiting card has working email, report our email as spam.
You haven't given us much hard info to go on (your mail server IP address, who accused you of spam and wny they did so, etc.), so it is impossible to offer specific advice. If you just got "nastygrams" from your provider on the basis of one or two wrongful reports, then I can sympathize. On the other hand, if enough spam activity was traced to your domain or address block to land you on a blocking list (causing much of your outgoing mail to be bounced or discarded), then you have more serious matters to tend to.

As far as the law is concerned, I am not a lawyer (particularly not a Portuguese one), nor am I a paid employee of SpamCop, but I can say that it isn't so much a matter of what the law allows you to do as it is a matter of what you can force others to do. You can publish a book but you can't make me read it. You can make a movie, but you can't force me to buy a ticket. You can send me an e-mail, but you can't force me to accept it, even if you scrupulously obeyed all laws in sending it to me. It is my e-mail inbox, I pay for it (or my employer/school/etc. does), I (and they) get to say whose mail I will accept. If I told you you could send me mail last week, but then changed my mind today, then that's pretty much the end of it. If I report you wrongly as a spammer, you can challenge me or even sue me, but you can't force me to continue accepting your mail, nor have the cops toss me in jail for violating a law.

Most mail services that provide spam filtering these days tend to use blocking lists, which tell them what IP addresses have recently been sending large quantities of spam (or doing other bad things). They can choose to block, reject, or even discard mail coming from such addresses. They have a perfect right to do so. That's why it is very important these days for bulk-mailers to make sure they run clean shops, so that they stay off the blocking lists. On the other hand, only an incompetent mail admin would block incoming mail on the basis of one or two personal spam reports (which can of course be mistaken or malicious).

Hope this helps, feel free to reply if you have any further info for us.

-- rick

(on edit: added missing point)

Edited by rconner
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Actually, US law against spamming is not very different than Portuguese law - commercial bulk emails have to be clearly marked and have unsubscribe function.

Laws are generally useless in controlling spam since email is international in nature.

The internet is run by etiquette, sometimes called netiquette. It is rude to send unsolicited email to anyone, private or corporate. The reason is that if legitimate businesses sent even targeted email to other businesses or private individuals, email inboxes would soon be overwhelmed and useless for communication. Think about how many businesses there are in the world who sell natural stone, for instance. Or restaurants. Or hotels. And then think about receiving an advertising email from them or even a percentage of them. That would be a lot of emails!

Etiquette's answer to rudeness is the 'cut direct' or to totally ignore a person who is rude. Server administrators refuse to deal with IP addresses where unsolicited email comes from. Some of them reject email from that IP address at the server level which results in a message to the sender. Others simply throw those emails away.

Since many legitimate merchants realized that it was unproductive to send unsolicited emails, most of the unsolicited email sent nowadays is sent by people who are either criminals or walking a line just inside the law. These unethical people do not bother to put an unsubscribe function in their spam or if they do, they use the attempt to unsubscribe as a way to confirm that someone is receiving the email. They add that email address to more lists. Nobody with any sense at all would ever use the unsubscribe in an unsolicited email. Most people do not even open spam.

Also, people realize that spam is a big nuisance and want their email service providers to filter the spam out of their regular email. The most effective way to filter is by using blocklists. Most blocklists use, as part of their criteria for inclusion, the receipt of mail by spam traps. spam traps are email addresses that have never been used to send email and therefore any email they receive is unsolicited. Unless you talk directly to the person and that person requests you to send him an email, there is no guarantee that the person receiving your email has any interest in your product. If he isn't interested, then it is spam. You cannot buy lists of email addresses collected from the internet or anywhere else.

So no matter what US law or Portuguese law says, it is not good manners to send unsolicited email. It is also not good business since clients expect their vendors to be educated in internet protocols.

Miss Betsy

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