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Spam Laws/Regulations on service - General thoughts?

Posted on 2016-09-07
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Last Modified: 2016-09-07
I have a service I'm developing where I'd like to implement a feature where users can notify others of events/etc via email.  Basically - the feature would be something along the lines of "paste your list of email recipients here" - and the service would generate a bulk-send to those specified addresses.

I'm a little wary of including such a feature though, because there's the potential for abuse with it.  In a sense, it would turn my service into a bulk-mail sender...which could carry some issues along with it I'd imagine (from a legal standpoint).

Do you think my caution with such a feature is justified - and if you've ever developed such a feature - how did you address those types of issues?
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Question by:erzoolander
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Jason C. Levine earned 2000 total points
ID: 41788259
You cannot do as you describe without running into spam laws and also getting blacklisted as an open relay rather quickly.  The fix would be to add a step where recipients must opt-in to your service before mail will be delivered.  With an opt-in, you have your safe harbor on both counts.
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by:erzoolander
ID: 41788267
That's what I thought, and thanks for the input.  Kinda renders the idea impractical then - because attempting to get random people to the site to opt in - in order to receive a one time mailing (for example an invitation to an event) wouldn't really make sense.

Shelve that function.  :)
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 41788268
It's also highly duplicative of Facebook, where everyone is already signed up and receiving mail...You would have faced a highly uphill battle on this front.
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by:erzoolander
ID: 41788281
Agreed.  

The feature I was considering is kind of an ancillary function for the sake of convenience for the user.  But, non essential to the primary purpose of the site.  With the potential for being marked as a spam relay, was up in the air about whether or not to pursue actually developing that part.  

Thanks for confirming that it's a bad idea...lol
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