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   Caught in a Spam Loop

    Online newsletters and ezines are popular sources of information for a myriad of topics (and possibly a spam loop). You can literally find, and subscribe to the mailing lists for just about any topic that interests you.

   Some mailing lists are open to anyone who wants to join them. Joining a mailing list is called "subscribing" and leaving a list is called "unsubscribing"

   Moderator approval is often employed to keep a high average quality of posts and weed out spam, but there are a few moderators or publishers who are more inclined to use their publications for spamming their subscribers.


   Unfortunately for us, these Spammers are clever and less than honest.

   This recent article by Dennis Gaskill is a perfect example of just how unscrupulous SPAMMING has become.

   Dennis included suggestions for
handling one of the nastier tricks used by SPAMMERS.

Richard Rossbauer

                              Caught in a Spam Loop
                                        by Dennis Gaskill

I got caught in a spam loop a couple of times, so I'm going to tell you about it so if it happens to you you'll know what to do.

First, let me explain what happened so you can recognize the signs of a spam loop. A publisher, and I use the term loosely, decided the best way to grow his ezine was to add hundreds or maybe thousands of names to his mailing list without asking permission. The publisher then sent out his spamzine to the list.

Naturally, hundreds of folks didn't like that, and they wrote back with unsubscribe demands and angry complaints. This is when the real trouble started. The publisher had his mailing list set up as a discussion list. That means every spam accusation, complaint, and unsubscribe request that was sent to this idiot publisher was sent back out to the entire list.

This really caused confusion. Innocent spam victims thought everyone was accusing them of spamming, not yet realizing that the replies to the original spam were being sent back to the list. Then they started responding in their own defense, which again, kept the loop growing and making everyone involved angrier by the minute. You can see how messy this can get in a hurry.

That's the point it was at when I came online for the day and downloaded my email.

I'd been caught in a spam loop once before, so I recognized what was happening almost immediately.

The first thing I did was to go to and looked up the owner and web host of the domain.

Armed with this information, I sent a reply to the spamzine list knowing the whole list would receive it.

I identified myself, explained what was happening, and then gave the site owner and host contact information so people could complain to the right parties instead of sending misguided letters to each other.

It was about an hour after that, that the web host shut down the offending site for violating their terms of service and the problem was ended for almost everyone. Everyone but me. In addition to the hundreds of message from the spam loop, I was still getting plenty of email about it. Folks either wanted to just say thanks or ask how I figured out who owned the site.

At least that was legitimate email, and the never-ending loop was broken. It also created a lot of good will for my site, so it turned into a blessing for me for taking the initiative to help put an end to the trouble and confusion.

If you ever get caught in a spam loop, now you know what to do. Remain calm, take positive action, explain the situation clearly, give the offenders contact information, and wait. Most of the time you will find you've done something good and worth the effort.

     * ezine - an online magazine or newsletter (electronic magazine)

  ** discussion list - an electronic mailing list in which any subscriber may post comments.
       On a discussion list, a subscriber uses the mailing list to send messages to all the other
       subscribers, who may answer or respond in similar fashion.

      About the Author - This article was written and copyrighted by Dennis Gaskill of and is reprinted here with permission. Visit today for
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