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#1 bwelford

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:29 AM

A new spamming email message this morning so I presume others may have got this too.

Dear Barry Welford,

I am professional web extractor who has experience in extracting web directory such as YellowPages, business directory, eBay and hotels booking website. I am able to extract 10,000 company name, address, tel, fax & email within a week and delivered in Microsoft Excel format. The fees is CDN$0.10/Item with minimum of 1000 Items. Once the extraction is completed, partial database will email to you before you make the payment via Paypal.

How my service help your business?
For example, XXXXXXX want to expand his business in Canada. I assist him to extract company name, contact person name & email from a business directory web site and thus he is able to email more than 50,000 potential customers within a short period of time.

The primary purpose of extraction service is save your time to copy and paste web data one by one into Excel. With extraction service you can get the data you want in shortest time with 10x lower cost! 

Note: Canadian Company Database with company name, address, contact person name, phone, fax & email is available now!

Regards,

Francis Chang
Professional Web Extractor


Edited by bwelford, 03 April 2013 - 02:08 PM.
Removed company name at Glyn's suggestion


#2 bobbb

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 12:43 PM

Professional Web Extractor?? == scapper??



#3 EGOL

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:00 PM

I'll bet PR companies, publicists and marketing firms are making this guy rich.

 

His service is making people into spammers.

 

I always wonder where they get my info.


Edited by EGOL, 03 April 2013 - 01:01 PM.


#4 cre8pc

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:25 PM

I'm just sitting here trying to imagine the karma this "web extractor" is going to pay back later.   :dazed:



#5 glyn

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:31 PM

Far be it for me to come to the defense of a spammer :emo_gavel:  but I do think this case raises a couple of questions.

 

1. Unless expressely violating a terms of service I see nothing wrong in web-extraction, scraping or any other form of URL research. If you don't want it out there, don't publish it. Or, put in defensible terms, which although might not be obeyed, at least provides some degree of defensibility from activities such as those being offered for service.

 

2. I personally feel this person is stupid to write something in an email. It's a classic case of do it by phone. I do my own url research but as part of my own particular strategies to analyse the web, strip out the cr** and focus activities on assets that will yield benefit. I am not, however a spammer. That someone spends lots of time doing things that I choose to accomplish with technology is my benefit. I have fun where others are convinced that spending lots of time on tasks that can be accomplished without technology is "white hat".

 

I think it would be appropriate, even if such an email is an invitiation to this kind of thread to remove the company name and reference from the thread for good practice, also because it mentions companies that may or may not be complicit in the kind of email that has been sent.

 

Glyn.


Edited by glyn, 03 April 2013 - 01:32 PM.


#6 bwelford

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 02:10 PM

Thanks, Glyn.  I have removed the company name mentioned in the Opening Post although Google suggests that there are a number of companies in several countries with the same name.



#7 Walter

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 03:02 PM

He's slow and expensive



#8 jonbey

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 03:16 PM

Not really anything new. I know that my local library has a business service which will deliver the same info, including email addresses, which is specifically for reaching out to new businesses. Most people write letters as this seems more professional.

 

Funny as recently I applied for building planning permission and received a lot of letters from companies offering their services, but no emails or phone calls. I would prefer an email with a link to their site really, but spam laws do not allow. 



#9 clandestino

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:35 PM

The scraper isn't doing anything illegal and the US CAN SPAN Act allows business e-mails if certain criteria are met, two of which are identifying the e-mail as advertising and offering an opt out option.

 

However, all ISP's (all major ISP's anyway) in their TOS do not allow allow unsolicited e-mail.  So, you can be kicked off your ISP and blacklisted for sending this type of e-mail.

 

In California, you can be subject to a $1,000 per occurrence penalty (don't hold me to this as I'm not an attorney, I don't follow the law and that amount may be out of date) if your e-mails are deceptive, notwithstanding the CAN SPAM act (actually the CAN SPAM act provides an exception for deceptive practices).  Using false business names and changing header information to hide your identity may fit within California legal rulings to this effect.

 

So the question may be - is it ethical to sell a product that may harm the purchaser even if it's not illegal?


Edited by chuckfinley, 03 April 2013 - 06:40 PM.


#10 jonbey

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:56 PM

To which the answer has to be yes, as just about anything may harm somebody! 

 

I think CDN$0.10/Item is less than my library charges. If you restricted it to 1000 local businesses and then sent glossy promo letters, then you are at no risk of falling under any Internet spam act, and may get some valuable business from it.

 

OK, these people are probably hoping to sell this service to spammers - but the service can be used ethically and legally too. Although a small business will struggle to process the numbers that they are quoting, without a computer!



#11 Walter

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:19 PM

Chuck,

 

notwithstanding the CAN SPAM act

 

Actually Chuck, I think the CAN SPAM act supercedes state laws, therefore it prevents states from enacting or enforcing more restrictive laws.  So if your emails comply with the Federal Regulations I don't think there is much individual states can do about them.  My understanding is that the legislation was enacted for just that reason, not so much to limit spam as to limit the types of legislation that states could make about it.  In regards to fraud, states have more room to set standards; because in fact, the prosecution or civil case would be about "fraud" rather than emails per se.   Again, just my understanding.   

 

 

US CAN SPAN Act allows business e-mails if certain criteria are met, two of which are identifying the e-mail as advertising and offering an opt out option.

 

Yes, but the one I see left out of most emails I recieve is a physical mailing address. 

 

So the question may be - is it ethical to sell a product that may harm the purchaser even if it's not illegal?

 

I think "may potentially be used" is more precise because there are many legal uses for the information.  Besides the legal uses that physical addresses and phone numbers could be put to, the question of whether of not any emails sent to the list provided comes down to an issue of whether the email contains the neccesary information, doesn't make fraudulent or deceptive claims, and provides a viable opt out option.  All these things are well beyond the control of the list provider.  Sending an unsolicited email in and of itself just isn't illegal as I understand it.

 

Personally the only "bulk" emails I send out are sent through Constant Contact which requires that the recipient opt in.  However, I do on occasion send out emails to businesses that I think might be interested in my services that are "unsolicited".  I limit the number, don't sent more than one unsolicited email, and I don't think there is anything wrong with this. 

 

Walter



#12 Walter

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:33 PM

I think CDN$0.10/Item is less than my library charges

 

It could be extremely expensive, depending on where they scrape the addresses and what type of filtering, if any they do the the excel file.   Take the yellow pages for example, there are many many duplicates in a yellow pages scrape.   Some are easy to eliminate, where all the criteria across the rows is identical, but there are a lot of duplicate entries with different phone numbers, different addresses, slightly different spellings, multiple category placement and ect.   Those are much more difficult to filter for.  In addtiion, the yellow pages tends to contain a high number of listings that are out of business, sometimes out of business for years.  I think the best you could hope for is that the list provider takes out the 100 percent duplicates which still leaves you paying much more than .10 per actual lead.  Also, if you requested more than an email, say an address, phone number, name AND email, my guess is that the scraper will provided the email "if available" and you'll pay for a lot of leads that don't have an email at all. 

 

I think .10 a item is pricey.

 

Walter


Edited by Walter, 03 April 2013 - 07:35 PM.


#13 jonbey

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 04:33 AM

I guess it depends on what you want the info for. If I was doing some local marketing I probably would not want more than 1000 results (it would cost £470 to post a small letter to them all).

 

Do you know of good services that are cheaper? Always handy to know.



#14 Walter

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 05:56 AM

Do you know of good services that are cheaper? Always handy to know.

 

I don't.  A friend of a friend does these sorts of things for me as a favor.  

 

However I did take a quick look over at fiverr and found a guy that offers 500 for $5 and an additional 1500 for an additional $10.  Looks like he scrapes straight out of the yellow pages, but since you're looking for physical mailing addresses and aren't concerned about emails that isn't so bad.  He does require that you specify a city and limits you to up to 5 business categories/keywords. But having category specific lists could work to your advantage. 

 

I'd poke around at fiverr a little bit and see what I could find.  I'd ask about whether they remove duplicates or not.  Keep in mind that even if they remove the most obvious duplicates not all the "leads" will be viable and you'll probably have to spend some time going through the list yourself and editing it if you want to keep double mailings to a minimum.  If you're only interested in addresses and don't care about phone numbers it will make cleaning the list much easier.

 

I'll also mention that if you were to use a service like the one that initiated this thread and you could specify the source of the data, say for example the local chamber of commerce, that could make a big difference in the quality of the list.  

 

Walter



#15 iamlost

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:00 AM

Given that there are a limited number of both general, i.e. YellowPages, and industry specific directories - discounting the ones created by scraping each other :D - once each database set is created the work is done... and given that he says the Canadian one is already created:

* the week time frame is pure marketing hype at this point.

* the $0.10 per with a $100 minimum is rather pricey.

Note: I recently did a geo-region bounded industry specific scrape-extraction that included phone verification (robo-calls) of existence and current contact person that took a few part weeks for programming, testing, initial run, duplicate removal, etc. The robo-calls took a further two weeks but didn't require much oversight.

 

Done for one customer (and including non-SE listed directories as mine) could be pricey, done for mass sale (and likely only from SE listed directories without phone response verification) and covering n-countries such as suggested by the quoted email... either a flop or a licence to print money depending on the response. Once the crawling, indexing, cleaning, and filtering is done (pretty much all by software) it is all marketing and nothing but selling. Just like the enterprise data miners...



#16 clandestino

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 05:08 PM

Chuck,

 

 

Actually Chuck, I think the CAN SPAM act supercedes state laws, therefore it prevents states from enacting or enforcing more restrictive laws.  So if your emails comply with the Federal Regulations I don't think there is much individual states can do about them.  My understanding is that the legislation was enacted for just that reason, not so much to limit spam as to limit the types of legislation that states could make about it.  In regards to fraud, states have more room to set standards; because in fact, the prosecution or civil case would be about "fraud" rather than emails per se.   Again, just my understanding.  

 

I think you're right about the CAN SPAM Act superceding state law.  I didn't write that very well.

 

The CAN SPAM Act provides an exception to its applicability for cases of deceptive practices.  When I looked into this (I can't even remember how long ago, which should tell you something), there had just been a couple of cases in California decided in favor of the petitioner that applied the deceptive practices exception.  I don't know if it's federal or state law that establishes the $1,000 per e-mail amount.  I do know the CAN SPAM Act provides for both civil and criminal penalties.

 

Here is  the attorney's site that filed the successful California complaints -->  http://danhatesspam.com/

 

This is interesting, in this case he apparently won a judgement for $7K and was awarded attorney's fees of $82K. (I didn't have time to read the case so I'm not sure how the right to attorney's fees was achieved.  I'll leave that up to you, there's a link below.) -->

 

On February 24, 2012, the Court of Appeal issued a published Order affirming the trial court in all respects: I win on the anti-spam cause of action, and I don't have standing on the CLRA cause of action.  Trancos also owes me $82K in attorneys' fees on a $7K judgment, and it would have been a lot more than that except that I did a lot of the work on the case myself and couldn't bill for it.  Read the Court of Appeal's Ruling(Note: This document is hosted on an external website.)  It's worth noting that Trancos could have settled this matter confidentially four years ago for a couple thousand bucks.

 

Keep in mind this law suit was the result of just eight e-mails. 

 

I haven't researched whether attorneys in other states are filing similar claims.  I bet they are.

 

All of the e-mail services such as Constant Comment will kick you off if they get complaints that you're sending unsolicitied e-mail, the receiver must have opted-in.

 

You would think that as a practical matter, if you aren't sending offensive information, you identify it as a sales e-mail in the Subject Line, you aren't hiding your identity and you provide an opt-out; it would be very unlikely that anyone would file a complaint or be able to win.

 

http://business.ftc....-guide-business


Edited by chuckfinley, 04 April 2013 - 05:14 PM.


#17 Walter

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 05:46 PM

I haven't researched whether attorneys in other states are filing similar claims.  I bet they are.

 

I think they are.  I've read some people have turned lawsuits of this nature into a little cottage industry. 

 

All of the e-mail services such as Constant Comment will kick you off if
they get complaints that you're sending unsolicitied e-mail, the
receiver must have opted-in.

 

Yes if you pass a certain threshold they will.   Basically using them makes me feel safer.   Among other things It's fairly difficult to add anyone back into one of your lists after they've opted out which prevents any accidental oversights. I also really like the reporting tools.  
 

You would think that as a practical matter, if you aren't sending
offensive information, you identify it as a sales e-mail in the Subject
Line, you aren't hiding your identity and you provide an opt-out; it
would be very unlikely that anyone would file a complaint or be able to
win.

 

Agreed, as far as the law is concerned.  However, I think you can follow all the rules and still end up having a large number of your messages marked as spam. 

 

And that's where I'm more than a little unclear.  My understanding was that if enough of your messages are marked as spam then you might attract the attention of some of the anti spam groups and end up on some spammer data base which would make it very difficult to get your messages delivered.  That was another reason I went with Constant Contact, the ding for any messages marked as spam goes to them rather than yourself . . . again just my understanding.  Of course if you cross a certain threshold of "marked as spam" constant contact will dump you. 

 

Walter



#18 Walter

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 05:56 PM

Constant Comment will kick you off if

they get complaints that you're sending unsolicitied e-mail, the

receiver must have opted-in.

 

 

Yes if you pass a certain threshold they will.

 

 

I want to correct that, they require that emails on your list are opt in and including emails that aren't opt in is a clear violation of their TOS.   So, I don't know if there is a "threshold" for that kind of thing or if you're just out if get caught doing it.

 

Walt



#19 clandestino

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 06:25 PM

I think I read that if they get complaints, they'll deal with it.

 

Here's what Constant Contact says - http://www.constantcontact.com/uidocs/CCSpamPolicy.jsp   -->

 

CONSTANT CONTACT® ANTI-SPAM POLICY
 

Constant Contact's Policy
 

Constant Contact has a no tolerance spam policy. Constant Contact's customer support actively monitors large import
lists and emails going to a large number of contacts. Any customer found to be using Constant Contact for spam will
be immediately cut-off from use of the product. If you know of or suspect any violators, please notify us
immediately at abuse@constantcontact.com.
 

Every email contains a mandatory unsubscribe link - those individuals who try to remove this link will be warned that
they are doing so. If the link is removed or de-activated in any way, Constant Contact will terminate the customer's
account.
 

What is Spam?
 

Spam is unsolicited email also known as UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email). By sending email to only to those who
have requested to receive it, you are following accepted permission-based email guidelines.

 

 


 


Edited by chuckfinley, 04 April 2013 - 06:27 PM.


#20 jonbey

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:30 PM

This is probably why people use gmail - they can send a bunch of mails out and if the account is closed a few weeks later they can move on, change their made up name. I guess the replies are all forwarded on to another mailbox anyway?



#21 glyn

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:32 AM

I think I read that if they get complaints, they'll deal with it.

 

Here's what Constant Contact says - http://www.constantcontact.com/uidocs/CCSpamPolicy.jsp   -->

 

CONSTANT CONTACT® ANTI-SPAM POLICY
 

Constant Contact's Policy
 

Constant Contact has a no tolerance spam policy. Constant Contact's customer support actively monitors large import
lists and emails going to a large number of contacts. Any customer found to be using Constant Contact for spam will
be immediately cut-off from use of the product. If you know of or suspect any violators, please notify us
immediately at abuse@constantcontact.com.
 

Every email contains a mandatory unsubscribe link - those individuals who try to remove this link will be warned that
they are doing so. If the link is removed or de-activated in any way, Constant Contact will terminate the customer's
account.
 

What is Spam?
 

Spam is unsolicited email also known as UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email). By sending email to only to those who
have requested to receive it, you are following accepted permission-based email guidelines.

 

 


 

 

It's all hot air really because once you've sent it, you've spammed!

 

I remember a case in Italy where the fine is Euro 10,000 for every mail sent that is unsolicited.


Edited by glyn, 05 April 2013 - 05:33 AM.


#22 Walter

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 06:03 AM

Just to be clear . . . marked/reported as spam doesn't neccesarily mean it's spam.

 

People do mark emails as spam that aren't spam by the definition quoted above from Constant Contact.  Constant Contact aknowledges this and has a "tolerance level" for emails reported as spam.

 

Walter 



#23 jonbey

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:12 AM

Yep. I use MailChimp, but still all double opt-in. 

 

According to Spamhaus.org, which MailChimp refers its clients to, spam is:

 

 

 

A message is Spam only if it is both Unsolicited and Bulk.

Unsolicited Email is normal email
(examples: first contact enquiries, job enquiries, sales enquiries)


Bulk Email is normal email
(examples: subscriber newsletters, customer communications, discussion lists)
 

So, only spam if they did not sign up and you send bulk. Which is probably why we see more emails coming from the likes of Gmail - run a script on a pc to individually send emails.

 

Also, "Spam is an issue about consent, not content."

 

But I still get subscribers hitting the report spam button instead of the unsubscribe. By definition the email cannot be spam if they signed up and confirmed that they wanted the emails. Just because somebody does not like what you say they cannot call it spam.

 

Of course, what Spamhaus thinks and what individual ISPs, webhosts and Google think may all be different....... 



MailChimp has a tolerance level too - but if you link to a bad domain your account is suspended immediately and then reviewed.



#24 Walter

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:34 AM

I glanced through Spamhaus's home page and at first blush I think their take on things is pretty reasonable.  However, under the CAN SPAM Act in the states, I don't think that the fact that you're not sending emails in bulk  relieves you of the requirements to provide an opt out, physical mailing address and etc.  

 

 

Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.

 

Thats a quote from the Bureau of Consumer Protection and can be found here:

 

http://www.business....-guide-business

 

In this regard, I think Spamhaus is the more reasonable standard, but the CAN SPAM act is the law in the states and given that there are people out there looking/hunting for violations of that specific law it makes sense, at least in my case, to comply with it.  In practical terms I think you can cover it with a signature.   I didn't know what Spamhaus's standards were but it seems like I've been meeting them in any case. 

 

 

http://en.wikipedia....i/Daniel_Balsam





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