We do allow the use of email mailing lists though there are some conditions in place.
Firstly, we do not allow "safe lists" or other similar schemes whereby advertisers trade email contacts. In addition to this, the vast majority of email address lists available for sale on the internet as "legitimate opt-in lists of contacts who have agreed to be sent advertising emails" are fake and will lead to large numbers of spam reports so we do not allow the use of these purchased lists - all addresses on a mailing list must agree to be sent emails specifically with the website sending the emails (see below).
We recommend the use of an application called Dada Mail due to it's large amount of features, ease of use and server resource usage (eg ability to 'batch send').
Anyone operating a mailing list should first pay careful attention to our acceptable usage policy in this area where we set out some rules relating to:
- Absolutely no spam (unsolicited bulk email).
- All subscribers to the mailing list must have specifically agreed to be on the list and receive mailings via double opt-in methods (opting in with the site sending the emails).
- All mailings must contain clear and concise unsubscription instructions.
- All mailings should be sent out in batches, we limit the number of email that can be sent per domain to 500 per hour.
We strongly recommend that anyone operating a mailing list follows the guidelines below to minimise problems with mailings:
An opt-in method of list subscription is where the subscriber asks to be put on the list by, for example, entering their email address in a website form to become subscribed.
We strongly recommend that list administrators employ double opt-in methods whereby the subscriber has to authorise being added to the list after submitting their email address. This usually takes the form of an automated email being sent to the address submitted where a link needs to be clicked to confirm the subscription.
Not only does this get extra confirmation from the client, it also ensures that the email address is valid (avoiding problems with email bounces when sending to the list) and also that the email address is owned by the person subscribing (avoiding problems with people entering addresses not owned by them on website forms).
All emails sent to the mailing list must contain clear instructions for unsubscription. We strongly recommend that subscribers are offered the ability to unsubscribe via an online web link (most mailing software is capable of this) and not by replying to the email with a special subject line as most do not feel comfortable replying to an email they consider as unwanted.
In addition, we recommend that the instructions for unsubscribing to the email are shown clearly (not in tiny text) both at the top of the email and at the bottom (or just at the top at least).
We ask that emails sent to mailing lists do not primarily focus on advertising websites owned/operated by the client but not hosted with us. To advertise these websites a mailing list should be operating on the server they are hosted on.
We also recommend that all emails contain an opening paragraph detailing who the email is from, why it is being sent (eg because the subscribor asked to be kept informed via the list) and what the email is about (eg advertising new product line). We ask that websites are clear on the volume of mailings (eg weekly, monthly, etc) and content of mailings (eg announcements only, sales, etc) so that the subscriber can see this before subscribing.
The guidelines above should result in no (or very few) problems relating to spam reports being sent by receivers of email they consider as spam which by law we are required to investigate with utmost urgency.