Updated last on 6 Dec. 2017
The word "Spam" as applied to Email means "Unsolicited Bulk Email".
Unsolicited means that the Recipient has not granted verifiable permission for the message to be sent. Bulk means that the message is sent as part of a larger collection of messages, all having substantively identical content.
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)
An electronic message is "spam" if (A) the recipient's personal identity and context are irrelevant because the message is equally applicable to many other potential recipients; AND (B) the recipient has not verifiably granted deliberate, explicit, and still-revocable permission for it to be sent.
Spam is an issue about consent, not content. Whether the Unsolicited Bulk Email ("UBE") message is an advert, a scam, porn, a begging letter or an offer of a free lunch, the content is irrelevant - if the message was sent unsolicited and in bulk then the message is spam. Spam is not a sub-set of UBE, it is not "UBE that is also a scam or that doesn't contain an unsubscribe link". All email sent unsolicited and in bulk is Spam. This distinction is important because legislators spend inordinate amounts of time attempting to regulate the content of spam messages, and in doing so come up against free speech issues, without realizing that the spam issue is solely about the delivery method.
Various jurisdictions have implemented legislation to control what they call "spam". One particular example is US S.877 (CAN-SPAM Act 2004). Each law addresses "spam" in different ways, and as a consequence, often has different definitions of what they cover, whether they call it "spam" or not. Spamhaus uses the industry standard definition "Unsolicited Bulk Email" which underlines that "it's not about content, it's about consent". As such, arguments as to whether Unsolicited Bulk Email messages are covered under CAN-SPAM or are compliant with CAN-SPAM, are entirely irrelevant.
These aren't the only things we might consider spam. But they're a good guide.
If we find that you are spamming, or trying to spam:
If you believe you have received spam from an eMailConvert user, forward the email you received to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include the headers of the email when you forward it, and briefly tell us why you believe the message is spam. We take all spam complaints seriously and will investigate promptly.
|Static Thresholds||Acceptable levels*|
|Spam Complaints||≤ 0.02%|
*eMailConvert reserves the right to update the parameters of the acceptable sending threshold without prior notice.
A bounce is an email that is returned to the sender because it cannot be delivered for some reason. Bounces fall into 2 basic categories.
Hard bounces are permanent blocks, such as an email address that does not exist or has been deleted. Such email addresses are removed from the list straight away.
Soft bounces are email addresses removed after we have detected delivery issues such as an email inbox that is full, a mail server that is temporarily unavailable or the recipient no longer has an e-mail account at that address. In such cases, we try to deliver any further messages 3 more times within a 32 day period (we take 4 attempts altogether). If all our attempts fail, the email address that couldn’t receive the messages will be automatically removed from your mailing list to prevent your mailing list from becoming cluttered with bad emails.
Unsubscribes are recipients that opt out of receiving communication because they no longer want to receive communication. There are a variety of reasons customers choose to unsubscribe; some might be that they’re no longer interested in the content you’re publishing or are overwhelmed with a noisy inbox, or your content wasn’t what they were expecting.
Complaints are messages that are marked and registered by the receiver as spam. The contacts removed after marking the message as spam are not available in the account. It is not possible to see which email addresses marked your message as Spam.
Spam trap (or commonly known as a "trap") is an address that accepts mail, but does not belong to a real user. There are two main types of traps: pristine and recycled.
Pristine spam traps are addresses that never belonged to a real user, and never signed up for any mail. Mailing to (or "hitting") this type of trap address is very serious because it means that the address was "scraped" from the Internet. You generally end up with these addresses on your list as a marketer if you have purchased a list of addresses or a naughty affiliate of yours engages in purchasing lists or scraping addresses. Any way you slice it, it’s very bad to mail to those addresses and is indicative of poor acquisition practices.
Recycled spam traps are previously active addresses, which potentially belonged to a real user, but have been repurposed as a trap address after 6 or more months of inactivity and "conditioning" (meaning they returned a hard bounce error for a reasonable amount of time). It’s easy to end up with this type of trap address in your mailing list as a marketer if you don’t practice good list hygiene by removing inactive and invalid accounts regularly.