Our Spam Resolution Process
All spam complaints registered with WorldWide Merchant will be vigorously, thoroughly, and fairly investigated. If a mailing list owner is accused of spamming an individual, that list owner will be notified via e-mail of the spam complaint. The list owner is responsible to take the appropriate action. The email list owner must address all spam complaints within 48 hours of receipt of notice. The resulting resolution will be sent to a monitored system where it will be compared with the registered complaint. A member of the WorldWide Merchant staff will also be notified of the incident and we will take action when evidence of abuse exists. If further abuse occurs the list owner is notified and removed from the our system.
How We See Spam
As an Application Service Provider (ASP) we see the effects of spam much more than users do. We see how it affects our customers, our servers, and the public's perception of companies that do business on the Internet.
Spamming is a game of numbers. Let's say a spammer send his message to 1,000 addresses, with the hope of a 0.5% response. This means that 995 messages were either returned or sent to people who just did not care. The truth is that most users are irritated by this form of solicitation, and marketers who use this method do more harm than good for their business. Have you ever seen a spam from a hospital? How about a spam from AT&T or MCI? My guess is that you have not.
Spamming is a form of marketing that irritates many more users than it benefits. Companies who care about their reputation do not participate in spamming activities. Spamming is left for the MLM'ers selling magic hair tonic and anti-wrinkle cream. Overall, these spammers create a general prejudice against all companies who do business on the Internet thus slowing the acceptance of online commerce.
What is the difference between bulk-mailing and bulk e-mailing? Sending solicitations via the regular mail requires an investment on the senders part. When the mail is received, the recipient has a choice to accept it and read the offer or throw it in the trash. The recipient does not have this choice when sent a unsolicited e-mail however. The message is stored on their server, taking up space. The recipient has no choice but to download the message in order to delete it. Many users still have to pay per minute for Internet service either for connection time or for long distance charges.
How can you stop a company from sending you more email?
Each email sent through the WorldWide Merchant system contains an easy, automated way for you to cease receiving email from that sender. One click of the mouse is all that is required to opt out of the mailing list-the system automatically excludes you from future mailings without needing additional human intervention. If you wish to do this, simply follow the instructions at the end of any email sent through the WorldWide Merchant system.
If you receive further unwanted, unsolicited email sent via the WorldWide Merchant system, please forward a copy of that email with your comments to for review.
More Dangers of Spamming
Although many think the recipients of the spams are the main victim, ISP's (Internet Service Providers) are hurt the most by spammers. Their networks get flooded with spams and both their lines and server slow down causing their customers to go looking elsewhere for a dial-up provider. Recently there has been a new trend for ISP's to get revenge on spammers. The ISP will investigate the spam and find the domain of the spammer. They will then remove that domain (or block the domain) from their name server, thus preventing thousand perhaps even millions of browsers accessibility to that domain. The legality issues of this practice are just as nebulous as the legality of spamming itself. Once an ISP blocks your domain from their users, it is very difficult to prove that it is blocked and even more difficult to get this undone.
For every spammer you have a ASA (Anti-Spammer Activist). These are the users that attempt to track down the origin of the spam and send a meaningless threat or a vulgar message or every party associated with the address of the spammer. Although some of these ASAs have good intentions, they just create even more junk e-mail flowing through the Internet, slowing down connection times and using up valuable hard disk space that could be better used for storing orders. Why "ignorant"? Very rarely does a spammer use their real e-mail address nor do they send the mail from their ISP's mail server. These spammers do every trick in the book to hide their identity or just use somebody else's. So the majority of the time the flames are directed to the wrong place.
A Solution to Spam?
We don't have one. What we can do is implement policies that we believe will most benefit our customers and the Internet community in general. At WorldWide Merchant, we provide our customers with much information and many tools they can use to market their business so they do not have to resort to spamming.
The WorldWide Merchant "No Spamming" Policy Explained
"(vii) Advertising, Solicitation and Name Harvesting. We are proud to have a strict "no-spamming" policy. It is a definite violation of WorldWide Merchant policy and is cause for immediate termination."WorldWide Merchant reserves the right to terminate any user for spamming (as defined below).
While we do our best to keep our system free from abuse and encourage our list owners to use best practices to avoid generating complaints, sometimes we do get a complaint, both to us and to ISPs and network administrators.
Spam is taken seriously at WorldWide Merchant. Every attempt is made to correct possible abuse. We do not permit our system to be used for unsolicited email, and enforce our unsolicited email policy using several strategies:
- All messages sent with our system include identifying information about the customer (the mailing list ID) who sent the message and contact information for filing an unsolicited email complaint.
- We track complaint rates for each list, and compare the rates against historical averages for legitimate opt-in lists and for "spam" lists. We have a large amount of data, and we find this method is a highly reliable way of identifying abusers of our policy. Our system analyzes complaint rates and can suspend accounts of blatant abusers .
- We include our unsolicited email restrictions in our license agreement and impose fees for complaints received to discourage spammers from using our system. We explicitly warn of these restrictions during the signup process so that spammers do not use our system to send unsolicited email.
- We utilize mail servers located in the State of Arizona, allowing us to leverage arizona's anti-spam laws providing for statutory damages to be assessed against abusers see link below.
Why don't you host sites that spam, even if they do not use your servers for spamming?
All ethical issues aside, our contracts with the communications companies that bring us connectivity to the Internet do not allow it. WorldWide Merchant spammer gives WorldWide Merchant and our ISP a bad name in the Internet community. We also will do our part as an WPP to eliminate spam from the Internet.
What about sending unsolicited e-mail to our own customers?
This is fine. E-mail can be a very effective way to distribute information to customers. However, this is where many "grey areas" come up. How are they a customer? Do they know they are a customer? Are you trying to sell them something or merely sending an announcement? Do they have a means of getting off your list if they request it?
We have many users on our site. What if a user decides to ignore this policy and spam anyway?
We are reasonable and we take this into consideration. We will ask you to inform the user of the policy and make sure it does not happen again. It they continue to send unsolicited messages your account will be in jeopardy. We strongly discourage customers giving users free web space, e-mail accounts or auto responders. This is breeding ground for spammers.
Are you saying though that there is a limit to what kind of legal business I can talk about on my Web site?
Not at all! You can use your Web site for any legal purpose (adult sites excluded). You just cannot use unsolicited e-mail to advertise services or products.
Spam - LegalThe legal status of spam varies from one jurisdiction to another. In the United States, spam was declared to be legal by the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 provided the message adheres to certain specifications.
The U.S. government has declared the practice of spamming unlawful, however, there are many grey areas still.