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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Don't Be Like Mike

Don’t be Like Mike
Tragic Eye-Opener for Online Business
By Patrysha Korchinski

Over fifty thousand Internet users lost access to their top traffic-building tool yesterday, when the domain hosting the site was shut down as a result of a spam complaint. While SPAM itself is a malicious problem that requires strict supervision and complete crackdown on perpetrators, the tragedy of this incident is that the domain owner had not spammed anyone but was the victim of a rather tragic train of events. Right in the middle of a four-day blitz style promotion Instant Buzz was shut down by the FTC after an overzealous member broke CANSPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) regulations in promotional efforts. Despite paying the fines outlined in the Act, details overlooked in the registration process may prevent the sites reappearance for up to ten days.

If any good can come of this, it should serve as a wake up call to anyone doing business online that knowledge of both the CANSPAM regulations and the legal (and financial) ramifications of neglecting to do so. The law became effective in January of 2004 and covers any email whose primary purpose is advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a Web site. It’s imperative to become familiar with the guidelines and adhere to them. The case of Instant Buzz makes it clear that you should also make sure that others promoting your site, including affiliates and other forms of down lines, are aware of the laws governing commercial email.

It is wonderful to know that there are guidelines and laws being enacted to protect us from SPAM. These are an absolute necessity to start clamping down and freeing us from unsolicited slime mail. However, it’s also important to realize that Instant Buzz itself was not responsible for the site shutdown and that the president and CEO Mike Filsaime will be pursuing the perpetrator with legal action. Filsaime has made efforts to ensure members are well aware of the proper uses and applications for the Instant Buzz services.

Last week, just prior to the promotion blitz Filsaime initiated a series of online conferences hosted by Janet Legere to provide Internet Buzz members with the latest information on CAN SPAM compliant practices that Legere has been teaching through her company Contact List Builder. Legere was available live to all members last Tuesday in an online multi-media conference environment with a recording and supporting documentation made available to all Instant Buzz members after the fact. Had the member in question been following the guidelines made clear and available through his membership, all of this could have been avoided.

At this point, Filsaime is only one person, among thousands, who will lose substantial revenue due to this one person’s abuse of email communication. There is no excuse for this member or any member of the commercial Internet community to be ignorant of the laws in place to regulate SPAM. The rules are outlined at the CAN SPAM website in plain language that clearly states up to $11,000 fine that can be imposed for each violation. Further clarification and training is available through sites like Contact List Builder, which goes as far as providing a free download of an e-book that outlines a professional and CAN SPAM compliant approach to commercial mailing through the process of list building.

You must act now to ensure that you are following the regulations that apply to the mail you send out to protect you and your business. If you aren’t familiar with the CAN SPAM act, check out the Act itself at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/canspam.htm
Download the free e-book from Contact List Builder http://www.contactlistbuilder.com/affiliate?ref=INCREDIBLE

The information is free. The protection is priceless.

If you have a down line, affiliate program or a contact list, it is important that you help to train them in CAN SPAM compliant methods of doing business. As Filsaime discovered, you don’t need to be doing anything wrong to suffer the consequences of non-compliance.

More information will be available from Incredible Impressions in the next few days to help you avoid the other issues that complicated the situation after the fine was paid. Meanwhile, go read the regulations and the e-book and start implementing CAN SPAM compliance into your business.