Bay Citizen Newsletter Shut Down By Spamming Complaint

Categories: Media, internets
monty_python_spam.jpg
And thus, the Bay Citizen was foiled
More than 20,000 Bay Citizen readers didn't receive their daily newsletters this morning. An irate reader's e-mail complaint that the online newspaper was sending him unwanted pleas for his money led its internet service provider to shut the Bay Citizen down as a suspected spammer.

That irate reader is Richard Knee, a local freelance journalist and one of the driving forces behind the city's Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. He enjoys the Bay Citizen's daily newsletter, but tells SF Weekly he doesn't want the paper to ask him for his limited funds.

"Their news updates are useful. Their funding appeals and promos aren't," he says. "I filed a complaint with their internet service provider."

And that's when things spiraled beyond where Knee would have desired.

While he thought the internet service provider, Mailchimp, would have told the Bay Citizen to cease sending out purported spams, it instead showed them -- and shut down the paper's e-mail service entirely.

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Rose Roll, the Bay Citizen's vice president of membership, said the ISP communicated to her that service would be restored within a few hours after she filled out a number of forms indicating Knee opted in to receiving the newsletter. But that's six hours ago, and counting.

She notes that, yes, it is possible to segregate the readers receiving news updates and financial pleas -- but it's not exactly smart business. "Our e-mail subscribers are people who value our content and read it every morning," she says. "All of our content is free. That said, we are a nonprofit and we do need to pay the bills."

Knee objected to an e-mail directed at the site's most frequent readers offering discount memberships for Valentine's Day.

As a political activist, Knee sends out voluminous quantities of e-mail -- your humble narrator counts more than 100 in his inbox. The journalist notes, however, "I'm not asking you for anything. I send out e-mails if I think they will be of interest to people or entertaining. And, sometimes, I send out e-mails urging action on things. But I am selective."

He also says he never intended to get the Bay Citizen's service knocked out -- and "I hope I can get it back up."

If so, he'll have to start communicating via a new e-mail address. Roll says Mailchimp automatically barred Knee from receiving Bay Citizen communications after he filed the spam complaint.

"We can never send him another e-mail at that address."

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13 comments
Guest
Guest

mail chimp is just the new constant contact or vertical response email marketing services sometimes called email proxy servers with added premium services. these services have very low tolerance for spam as theycould be black-/block-listed by numerous registered black/block list (rbl) and reputation scoring services out of their control. if they want more control over their outgoing bulk email they should either set up their own smtp outgoing email server whichbdoes require constant monitoring for rbl and reputation management or use email felayservices like http://elasticemail.com.

problem solved.

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Jay
Jay

If you sign up for an email list and then get content you don't want or weren't expecting, you UNSUBSCRIBE. It's not SPAM. Spam is getting emails that you didn't sign up for. This Knee dude should know better.

Disposable
Disposable

Wow - I wish the *actual* spammers I get mail from used ISPs like that.  

Michael
Michael

Just to correct something, Mailchimp is not an ISP. An ISP is the company that provides Internet service, such as Comcast. Mailchimp is an email marketing service. 

The fact that Mailchimp shut down the Bay Citizen account because one subscriber complained about email that he opted-in to doesn't speak well for their business practices. I'd raise holy hell if I were the Bay Citizen and then move my business elsewhere.

who_the
who_the

You signed up for it. If you don't like it, unsubscribe.

Complicated world we live in. Especially if you make it so.

RobertSF
RobertSF

The question should be whether or not Richard Knee signed up. If he did sign up, the mail he's getting is not spam.

David D.
David D.

I recently unsubscribed from (occasional?) news updates from the Bay Citizen because I got almost as many fundraising e-mails as I did informative e-mails. It was very annoying, especially in the modern world where almost everyone is begging for my money, whether they deserve it or not.

Lamplighter
Lamplighter

Could that just be a Knee Jerk reaction?

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