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 Work at Home Moms > Marketing Your Business Through Email > The Ultimate Exploitation

Marketing Your Business Through Email: The Ultimate Exploitation

by jl scott, ph.d.

I'll get right to the point here: it looks like a new company called Habeas, Inc. will soon be controlling your email. Now, bear in mind that this is a company. NOT a government agency - a FOR PROFIT COMPANY!

It seems this company's CEO is Anne Mitchell, who served as legal counsel for Mail Abuse Prevention System ( Mail Abuse Prevention System is a leading spam blacklisting organization! Obviously, she has tons of "contacts" in the spam filtering industry.

The extreme spam filters started becoming a serious problem around March of 2002. Mitchell came on board with Habeas, Inc. about June of 2002. Coincidence? I don't think so!

Getting the picture yet?

Here's how it works ...

Habeas, Inc. has created a trademarked, copyrighted header for email. Use of this header tells ISPs and spam filters that your email is HABEAS COMPLIANT. In order to be "Habeas complaint," ANY of the following must be true:

1. The SENDER has the VERIFIED PERMISSION of each and every ADDRESSEE

2. The SENDER and each and every ADDRESSEE are all individuals who share a preexisting, professional (as opposed to merchant-consumer) relationship, and the EMAIL is relevant to that professional relationship

3. Each and every ADDRESSEE is a personal friend or family member of the SENDER, the EMAIL is NOT equally applicable to many other potential recipients, and the EMAIL is not COMMERCIAL

4. The EMAIL is sent to a single ADDRESSEE

Now, assuming that your email is "Habeas complaint" by any of the standards above, ISPs and spam filters "assume" your email is not spam. They automatically "whitelist" email containing these headers or email coming from IP addresses on the Habeas Users List. Others give messages with Habeas headers substantial credit in a spam scoring system.

So what's the problem?

First, the Habeas header is trademarked and copyrighted so the spammers can't steal it. Like that ever stopped spammers from doing as they please! Okay - so Habeas, Inc. is going to sue spammers if they use it. Sure. IF they can find them! Do you REALLY believe the spammers won't find a way to forge this - and avoid any penalties - like everything else? Come on!

Then, there's the little matter of the majority of spammers being outside the USA. Even with International copyright and trademark laws, how long to you think it will take to nail them?

Sure, they can get a Cease and Desist Order while prosecution is underway. Now, how long do you think it will take before the spammers are offered sterling opportunities to spam from the countries where the International copyright laws aren't recognized?

Spammers won't have to LIVE in those countries. Only hire a company - or individual - there to send their spam and cover for them. It's a no-brainer! SOMEBODY is bound to see the opportunity and set them up. Never underestimate the amazing creativity of spammers!

Secondly, Habeas headers are already recognized by a number of spam filters and Internet Service Providers. These include America Online, Yahoo, SpamAssassin, SpamCop SpamBouncer, JunkSpy, MessageLabs, and JunkFilter.

America Online? Yahoo? SpamCop? SpamAssassin? What is wrong with THIS picture?

Thirdly, "verified permission" (see #1 above) translates to "double opt-in." You have to prove you use double opt-in if publishing an ezine. Any savvy ezine publisher will tell you that requiring confirmation of every subscription request will LOSE you 60% of them. I KNOW this. I TESTED it!

With all this other crap going on, we can't AFFORD to use double opt-in! We can't afford to lose 60% of the people who originally ask for the subscription!

And, sending the new subscriber a "Welcome" email with the option to unsubscribe immediately, if they didn't actually make the request, doesn't COUNT. This is NOT considered an acceptable alternative (by Habeas, Inc.) to double opt-in!

Part of the problem here is that too many publishers insist on using online forms for subscriptions! Of COURSE they get a lot of bogus subscriptions! People come along and screw with those forms - putting in any address they please.

A form is NO easier to use than a link, to send an email request for the subscription. Yet, people can't see that, with the email request, they have an IP number and can prove who sent the email. In all the years I've used email requests, I have had one - count it, ONE - forged return address.

When the owner of the email address complained, I opened the full header and sent it to him. He was then able to track down who had been using his email address on returns. Speaks of a service, doesn't it?

Now, here's the kicker ...

Even if you don't mind using double opt-in, which is already costing you money in lost subscribers, you're going to PAY for the Habeas header! In fact, you are required to buy a "license" to use the header. Here's the payment schedule:

* "Individual and ISP licenses are free."

Okay - costs you nothing to write to your friends and family. But, see #3 above - and be careful!

* "Bulk Commercial Mail license, from to 1 per message, up to a maximum of $3,000 per month, designed for those who send commercial or promotional mailings for themselves or others. Small businesses under $100,000 annual business revenue can qualify for the Business license."

Apparently, this will apply to list servers. The cost for these services to send your ezines will go UP. AND, if it's free now, it won't be for long!

If you make over $100,000 per year, this "service" may cost you up to $3,000 per MONTH if you send your own ezines! Over ONE THIRD of your $100,000 in a year.


This is for every online business owner or publisher out there - who makes less than $100,000 a year - and who sends email FOR ANY REASON other than to friends and family!

The Habeas site also states that these may simply be temporary prices. From the Habeas site: "Habeas may eventually raise the price of the business and commercial bulk licenses, ..."

One very well-respected online marketer has already recommended this system. There'll be more to come. Why? Because a number of large companies are already licensed to include Habeas headers in their or their clients' messages.

What's my opinion? I can tell you in two words. It Sucks.

And two more: Big Time.

Idiots will see this as a great solution. The same morons who couldn't get their heads on straight long enough to put a stop to the filters harming their businesses - through legal means. They didn't do it while they still had the chance.

Will they EVER realize what hit them? Maybe. When it's too damn late.

So, this is what it's come to for online businesses ...

* We allowed the anti-spam fanatics (of which this company IS one) to put the filters in place without insisting on legal accountability.

* A private company will now dictate that you MUST buy their service, at $200+ per year, IF you want to have an online business, use public email and avoid the spam filters.

* This company will also dictate how you handle subscription requests, even though there is no law regarding the issue. Can they do that? Yes. Or, you can't use their "service."

* You can add $200 a year to your overhead PLUS more if you also use a list server, when the prices go up (and, they WILL), PLUS whatever amount they decide raise the cost of their "license" as soon as most ISPs require it, and/or the spam filters are reset to bounce all email without the header.

* When you hit a gross of $100,000 a year, you can pay over a THIRD of that to Habeas, Inc. for "allowing" you to use their headers. (Does this REMIND you of anything? Like "paying for protection" from companies like SpamCop and SpamAssassin?)

* Habeas, Inc. already has a patent pending for Sender Warranted Email(SM). This means NO ONE ELSE may use this system. There will BE no competition!

* Government regulation has been considered the big, bad wolf. Yet, as soon as Habeas, Inc. manages to get THEIR trademarked header required for email to be delivered, a FOR PROFIT COMPANY will control the Internet!

* Will it stop the spam and the unrequested porn? Not even for a minute! Once again, those of us who do NOT send spam will pay - with cold, hard, cash - for those who do. And, you can BET the spammers are already planning their next step!

And that is called "exploitation" of a bad situation!

This my friends, has been planned - and carefully executed - for a LONG time! By the very people who helped bring us spam filters! OH, yeah! SpamAssassin is right at the TOP of their list of "Partners!"

Will THIS generate lawsuits? Nah - we'll just roll over into a ball and hide our heads, like the little roly-poly worms that we are. And, let 'em do THIS to us too!

Sorry. I've lost my faith in the online business owners' capacity to stand up - be counted - insist on legal protection - and do what's necessary to protect their businesses. If it ain't easy ... they won't do it. So, maybe this is well-deserved.

Want the full story? Go to the URL below. May look good. Will NOT stop spam! WILL get YOUR money as an online business owner as you are coerced into using their service if you want to get past the spam filters! Somebody's going to be making BIG bucks every time you send an email or your ezine - and it ain't YOU!

I will be writing more on this subject soon. I am currently in the process of getting legal opinions on this whole situation!

Oh - the CEO of Habeas, Inc. is an attorney? Well, having been married to a judge for a number of years, that's the LAST thing that's going to intimidate ME!



Copyright 2003, jl scott, ph.d., all rights reserved.

dr. jl scott is the Director of the International Council of Online Professionals (iCop) - and also the publisher of THE iCop WHISTLE BLOWER! - the ezine dedicated to exposing scams and lack of ethics on the Web. For your FREE subscription:

More Articles on Marketing Your Business with Email

Getting Started with Your Newsletter or Ezine

Spam Filtering Articles
> The Ultimate Exploitation (more on spam filtering)
> Spam Filters: Could They Be Detrimental to Your Business?
> Beware of the Silent Ezine Killer!

Getting Subscribers
> What Information Should You Collect from Your Ezine and Newsletter Subscribers?
> How Do I Get More Newsletter Subscribers?
> How to Get More Ezine Subscribers

Writing a Great Ezine
> How to Write a Great Ezine that People Actually Read
> How to Write an Ezine



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