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ISIPP News – 2004 Archives

INSTITUTE FOR SPAM AND INTERNET PUBLIC POLICY, AND INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF ONLINE PROFESSIONALS CREATE A PARTNERSHIP THAT DELIVERS

Online Publishers Get Credit Where Credit is Due With Email Accreditation Program

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – October 25, 2004 – The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP) and the International Council of Online Professionals (iCop) announced today a partnership designed to bring to online small business professionals and publishers the same levels of visibility, accountability and email deliverability as their larger corporate colleagues.

Through the partnership, iCop’s membership, consisting of nearly 650 online small businesses and publishers, will be able to participate in ISIPP’s email accreditation program, the ISIPP Accreditation Database (IADB). Emailers listed with IADB are able to declare their email sending policies, and receive a score based on how ethically they run their email lists and avoid sending spam. Internet service providers, spam filters, and other email receivers check email coming from a given sender against the IADB to determine the profile of the sender and the email they send.

“We have every manner of business included among our members,” explained jl scott, ph.d, Executive Director of iCop. “We have bookkeepers, consumer protection agencies, financial services, entertainers, realtors, travel agents, gift shops, and everything in between. As diverse as they are, the one thing which they all have in common is that they are small businesses operating in the online marketplace, and when they have email deliverability issues their voices just aren’t heard. This partnership is going to change all that.”

Members of iCop, after passing iCop’s own accreditation check, will be able to participate in ISIPP’s IADB at a special partnership rate especially designed for small businesses, and to gain all of the advantages of email accreditation enjoyed by larger email service bureaus and online marketers. Email publishers already participating in ISIPP’s program include Informz, aWeber, Innovyx, Get Response, Lockergnome, MacJournals, and e-Dialog.

According to ISIPP CEO and President Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., smaller online publishers and small businesses have traditionally been overlooked and are largely missing from the email deliverability discussions which has been taking place among ISPs, spam filters, and large email senders in the past year. “We completely understand the frustration of the smaller online business owner, and most especially newsletter publishers. Most deliverability and whitelisting programs out there are simply priced out of their reach and, quite frankly, could not care less about their needs. When we brought our IADB online we went out of our way to create participation levels which were accessible to online publishers, and we are delighted to work with iCop to assist with small business email deliverability, and to help bring a voice to their membership in the online dialogue.”

Added scott “Our entire raison d’etre is to advocate for and represent our online small business professionals with the highest standards of ethics. We are very pleased to be able to provide this partnership to our members.


INTERNET ORGANIZATIONS, INDIVIDUALS JOIN FORCES TO MAKE GMAIL ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO U.S. TROOPS STATIONED OVERSEAS

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – June 22, 2004 – The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP), Gmail4Troops.com, Whizardries, Wil Wheaton and Drew Olanoff are pleased to announce a joint effort to assist members of the military who are stationed abroad, and their families, by providing free web-based email accounts from the Gmail service to U.S. troops who are deployed overseas.

“With the 4th of July just around the corner, this is a time to remember those who are daily risking their lives overseas,” said Anne P. Mitchell, President and CEO of ISIPP. “Whatever your politics, there is no denying that these individuals are making some very hard sacrifices, including having left their families and friends behind. If we can help them to stay in touch with their loved ones, to share pictures and to hear their voices and see their smiling faces in videos, then that is a precious gift which we can give to them, and the Institute is honoured and privileged to be able to help Drew and Wil with this project.”

Gmail is the free email service offered by Google. The service, which includes a gigabyte of data storage with each free acccount, is not yet available to the general public, but existing Gmail users can invite others to join the service. Gmail invitations are so coveted that they can be found being auctioned on eBay, and Internet sites have sprung up where users can barter and bid for the chance to receive an invitation to the free email service.

A chance email by Drew Olanoff to Wil Wheaton, author of “Dancing Barefoot” and “Just a Geek”, started the chain of events which lead to the development of the joint project. Olanoff, a regular reader of Wheaton’s blogsite, WilWheaton.net, told Wheaton that “I will send you an invitation for Gmail if you post something on your site telling others to give their invites to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The idea piqued Wheaton’s interest, and he issued a challenge to others to spread the word about the effort to make Gmail available to overseas troops. Wheaton was inundated with responses, and just two days later Wheaton and Olanoff brought Gmail4Troops.com online.

“It just made sense,” explained Olanoff. “While viewing one of the Gmail swap sites, I came across a posting from a soldier stationed in Afghanistan who was asking for a Gmail Invite. After exchanging email with him, it became apparent that Gmail’s sleek, free interface and large amount of storage would be a huge help to him.”

Wheaton’s post came to the attention of Mickey Chandler of Whizardries, and a post by Chandler to his own personal blog caught the eye of Mitchell, who had worked with Chandler on several Internet and email initiatives over the years. Mitchell, herself a veteran, contacted Wheaton and Olanoff, and offered the resources of the Institute to help further their efforts. Then she tapped her old friend Chandler to help develop an online system to help administer Olanoff and Wheaton’s program to match those with Gmail invitations to donate with servicemembers overseas who wanted the accounts.

“I received Drew’s initial email on Thursday, by Saturday we had Gmail4Troops online, and by Monday we found ourselves with a full-fledged service, processing hundreds of Gmail account donations and requests” said Wheaton. “And the really amazing thing is that for the vast majority of people, it doesn’t matter if you’re a liberal or a conservative, a dove or a hawk, we’re all coming together to do something great for our soldiers in the field, and their families, to show them that we haven’t forgotten them and we realize the sacrifices which they are making”.

Said one of the Gmail account recipients, “Life in the military is hard enough without the stresses of leaving your home and family to serve abroad. Communication to and from loved ones is the only thing that keeps some of the guys going, and Gmail makes it so much easier…Just from one airman serving in Iraq, this alone makes Gmail4Troops a godsend and helps to give me strength to do what I need to do and make it home.”

Added another, “Most of what we do goes unnoticed, not because it’s not appreciated, but because it’s not seen on a daily basis. Being in a foreign land, away from family and friends for extended periods of time, it all takes a toll. The Gmail4Troops project is one way that those who cannot be there to see their toddler walk those first steps, or feel that sense of pride rush through their bodies as their ‘little one’ graduates from high school, can at least watch those special occasions unfold. With Gmail’s large storage capacity, receiving pictures and videos by email is no longer a problem. With Gmail4Troops, the kindness of strangers prevails.”

Those interested in donating or requesting Gmail accounts may do so at http://www.gmail4troops.com



About the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy

The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP) provides expert analysis and consulting services to legislators, governmental and regulatory agencies, industry leaders, educational institutions, and the press. For more information see http://www.isipp.com

About Whizardries

Whizardries is an Internet consulting firm specializing in email-related issues and web application development. For more information see http://www.whizardries.com

About Gmail4Troops

Gmail4Troops was developed to help match servicepeople who are stationed overseas, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, with people wishing to donate spare Gmail accounts to military personnel serving abroad. For more information see http://www.gmail4troops.com

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks or copyrights of their respective owners.


IADB SENDER ACCREDITATION PROGRAM ANNOUNCED BY INSTITUTE FOR SPAM AND INTERNET PUBLIC POLICY

New database helps ISPs, Spam Filters Make Email Acceptance Decisions

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – March 15, 2004 – The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP) announced today the release and availability of the ISIPP Accreditation Database (IADB).

Using the same technology as do its controversial blocklist cousins, such as the MAPS RBL and SPEWS, which are used to reject spam, the IADB is designed to help email receiving organizations such as ISPs and spam filtering companies in making email acceptance, handling, and delivery decisions, and to help legitimate senders of bulk and commercial email to ensure that their email gets delivered, and not erroneously blocked as “spam”.

The IADB accomplishes this dual purpose by listing email senders in the database, and providing factual information about the senders to the ISPs and spam filters, including whether the sender has passed a background and reference check by ISIPP, whether they are personally known to ISIPP to be good Internet emailing citizens, and whether they publish Internet domain authentication records such as for Sender Policy Framework (SPF) or Microsoft’s “Caller I.D. for Email”, or participate in sender authentication programs such as Habeas or Ironport’ Bonded Sender.

“What is unique about IADB, among other things, is that it is the first DNS-queryable database which provides the kind of fact-based data that it does,” said Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., President and CEO of the Institute. “We don’t tell ISPs ‘you should accept email from this sender because we say so’. We tell ISPs “his organization has good mailing practices, they are known to us, they publish SPF records, participate in Bonded Sender, or whatever the case may be, and the ISPs and other receivers make their email acceptance or rejection decisions based on that data.”

The IADB provides listee data in ways which are useful to both ISPs and spam filters. ISPs often prefer to make an email processing decision based on a cumulative score, accepting email from any IADB listee which has a score above a certain number, indicating that they adhere to many best practice standards. Spam filters often prefer to have each piece of information available to them separately, as individual data points. IADB accommodates both.

“Outblaze supports ISIPP’s IADB database because it gives us factual and reliable information about senders,” said Suresh Ramasubramanian, Security and Antispam Operations Manager for ISP Outblaze Limited. “Information such as whether a sending site publishes SPF records and whether it is personally known to ISIPP as a responsible sender that maintains and furthers best current practices.” Added Ramasubramanian, “the IADB is a convenient tool that helps us make decisions about accepting and processing email from senders who are vouched for as responsible mailing list operators.”

“We’re pleased to see resources like IADB emerging, and SpamAssassin is looking at incorporating an IADB lookup into our next release,” said Craig Hughes, one of the chief architects of the open source SpamAssassin project. “ISIPP has been very flexible and accommodating in working with us to establish a standard interface mechanism between accreditation databases like IADB and filters like SpamAssassin.”

“IADB is also unique in that it is the first such database to incorporate a sending site’s SPF or Microsoft “Caller I.D. for Email” data, and if other sender domain authentication schemes come online we are prepared to incorporate them as well,” added Mitchell. “his not only provides an added data point for the ISPs and spam filters, but it also means that those sites which publish authentication records can have their domains listed in IADB, along with their IP addresses.”

Sender authentication records are important because they keep spammers from successfully forging a domain name in the “From” portino of the email they send.

“Having the IADB provide information about whether a sender publishes SPF records is an important new direction for DNS-based email delivery information databases, and we’re very pleased that ISIPP has chosen to do this, and happy to work with them in providing unique IADB accreditation codes for SPF publishers,” said Meng Weng Wong, founder of POBox.com and a chief proponent of SPF. “It is exactly this sort of cross-industry pollination which is going to help make sure that legitimate email gets delivered and that fraudulent email does not.”

In addition to the support of ISPs and spam filtering companies, the IADB is being embraced by email software and technology developers such as Advenix, developer of the EmailTeaser enhanced graphical subject line technology. “On its own, the EmailTeaser allows an email marketer to complement the subject line of their email with a small graphical icon next to the subject line, which, when voluntarily moused-over by the recipient, displays a teaser graphic of the sender’s choosing without the need to open the email,” explained Justin Khoo, chief developer of the EmailTeaser. “We’ve incorporated IADB data, and provide email marketers who are listed in IADB with a customized EmailTeaser icon which tells the recipient “this email is ok, it’s rom someone listed in the IADB.”

Email senders who are interested in being listed in IADB should see http://www.isipp.com/iadb.php


“SPAM AND THE LAW” EXPERTS OFFER HOPE, CRITICISM FOR U.S. ANTI-SPAM MEASURES

New Federal spam law deciphered, dissected and decried at crowded national conference

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – January 26, 2004 – The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (“ISIPP”) announced today that its national “Spam and the Law” conference drew nearly twice the expected number of attendees, with a stellar lineup of speakers playing to a crowd which was at times standing room only. Internet service providers, online marketers, attorneys, and even a few acknowledged spammers, crammed into a crowded room last Thursday to listen to the nation’s leading experts tell them about the state of the law with regards to spam, and what it means for email marketers.

From the keynote address by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, to a lively discussion of best email marketing practices with marketing guru Guy Kawasaki, the message was clear: the new Federal CAN-SPAM law is not going to stop all spam, and it’s up to legitimate online mailers to distinguish themselves from the spammers by doing the right thing.

“To say that some people are not thrilled with CAN-SPAM would be an understatement,” said Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., President and CEO of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy. “Still, there are some who think that in the right hands the law can be applied effectively, and we are already working on ways to help ensure that happens.”

Opinions on the CAN-SPAM law, which took effect on the first of this year, ranged from hopeful to skeptical to downright cynical. Other subjects covered at the conference included using other types of legal tools such as trademark and trespass laws to go after spammers, suing the advertisers along with the senders, and keeping one’s own mailings from running afoul of the new law.

Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig called the new law an “abomination”, explaining that in his opinion the new law is “ineffective and it’s affirmatively harmful because it preempts state legislation.”

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, whose own state’s anti-spam law was preempted by the new Federal law, pledged to continue the fight to protect consumer inboxes from spam, while acknowledging that “the resources we have to enforce the act are modest.”

Michael Goodman, the Federal Trade Commission attorney whose job it is to oversee the implementation of the CAN-SPAM law, pledged to move as quickly as possible to bring the first spammers to justice under the new law. “The FTC has been charged with both enforcing and interpreting the law,” said Goodman, “and we’ll be doing both at the same time.” Goodman also explained that much of this was new territory, and that his office welcomed feedback from industry experts.

Addressing the importance of one’s Internet image, Guy Kawasaki, former Apple evangelist and current CEO of Garage Technology Ventures, told the attendees that spamming is not only illegal, but can hurt your company’s bottom line. “This conference proved that online marketers must consider more than the letter of the law. The impact on a company’s image and the morals of society are as important.”

Award-winning journalist and founder of the Politech technology and politics mailing list, Declan McCullagh, explained to the audience that CAN-SPAM “encourages Congress to extend the federal government’s reach into the Internet,” and added that “it imposes additional requirements on legitimate, truthful speech.”

“Unfortunately, the spammers are not afraid of CAN-SPAM in the least,” explained Mitchell. “On the other hand, legitimate emailers are very concerned about it.”

For mailers who are trying to figure out what they need to do to comply with the new law, ISIPP offers an ebook entitled “CAN-SPAM and You: Emailing Under the Law”, which is available through their website at http://www.isipp.com. ISIPP is also making available an audio recording of the conference along with the speakers’ presentations.

“This conference far exceeded my expectations in terms of the quality of the information, and the knowledge and expertise of the speakers,” said Meng Weng Wong, a founder of Internet service provider Pobox.com, and chief proponent of an emailer identification system known as ‘SPF’. “I am more encouraged than ever now that we may have some usable legal weapons in our arsenal, along with the technological weapons such as SPF.”

The “Spam and the Law” conference, which was co-sponsored by Ironport Systems, WhatCounts Email Technology, TalkBiz.com, Skylist Email Solutions, MessageGate Enterprise Messaging Management, and Informz Integrated E-Marketing Solutions, attracted attendees from across the country, and from as far away as Australia. The first in a series for 2004, ISIPP’s next conference will be their “International Spam Law and Policies” conference, scheduled for the end of July.

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