Do you know what Constant Contact's expectation is for "SPAM" complaints?

by ileneg
4 replies
A maximum of 1 complaint per 1,000 delivered in a single send. Really? Yep!

What is your complaint rate? And if it is more than 1 in 1,000, has the service you've been using said anything to you or done anything about it?

I manage a Constant Contact Account for a new non-profit organization. A couple of weeks after sending an intro message, we sent out our first newsletter and received 29 spam complaints out of 2,547 newsletters sent. Constant Contact closed down the account while they did an account review and had us segment our lists and make other changes.

A couple of things...was this non-profit 100% compliant in receiving "specific permission" to send out newsletters? Probably not. So if we did it 100% correctly, would they still have temporarily shut us down? Not sure. But now if we receive more than what their expectation is (1 in 1000), they're going to shut us down again. At which point I actually said to the guy, well I guess if that happens we'll have to go to a different company (and I named one).

There are several things that have bothered me about this whole thing. But what's perhaps most disturbing is that if someone had seriously taken 1 to 2 seconds to look at this non-profit org, I can't believe they would hit the spam button. My assumption therefore is that they did not make sure there was water in the pool before jumping in. For goodness sakes, it's a brand new non-profit organization whose mission is to help wounded veterans, please people - just unsubscribe! People never cease to amaze me.

Forgive my rant...but I do feel better now!

#complaints #constant #contact #expectation #spam
  • Profile picture of the author AndyBeard
    If not 100% spam compliant (that doesn't necessarily mean double opt-in) then ultimately the people receiving email they didn't specifically request used their option to vote.

    0.1% is pretty typical
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    Originally Posted by ileneg View Post

    A couple of things...was this non-profit 100% compliant in receiving "specific permission" to send out newsletters? Probably not.
    So, they were spamming then?

    If I receive an eMail from someone who I have had no prior relationship with and did not opt-in to their list, I would consider it spam. I don't care who or what it's for; there are countless worthwhile charities out there but if they all sent me spam, I'd never be able to get through all my eMail!

    So if we did it 100% correctly, would they still have temporarily shut us down? Not sure.
    The bottom line is that, by your own admission, it was not done correctly. If it were done correctly and they shut you down because people were erroneously reporting your newsletter as spam, you'd have an argument here. But the fact is that it was not done correctly and your organization paid the price for it.

    On top of that, by spamming people who never wanted your newsletter, your organization has likely left a bad impression with them. I know that when I receive spam from organizations I've never heard of asking for donations, I figure it's a scam of some kind (and it usually is).

    ...please people - just unsubscribe! People never cease to amaze me.
    Why should I have to unsubscribe from something I didn't want to be subscribed to in the first place?

    Hopefully you've learned a lesson here: Do things right from the start. You've left a bad impression of your new organization with 29 people that you know of. You don't know how many people regarded it as spam or a scam and just deleted it rather than reported it.

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  • Profile picture of the author ileneg
    Actually since they did have a previously established relationship with their list, I did not consider it spam.

    Originally Posted by ileneg View Post

    ...was this non-profit 100% compliant in receiving "specific permission" to send out newsletters? Probably not.
    No, we did NOT use an online double-opt in. And yes, we DID comply with Constant Contact's Permission Policy (pasted below):

    How do I Follow the Permission Policy?
    Only use Constant Contact to send email to contacts that meet all of the following criteria:
    *They have given you, or your organization, prior consent to send them email.
    *They are not from a list that has been purchased, rented, appended, or given to you by a third party.
    *They do not have distribution lists or role addresses— E.g. email addresses that may be received by more than one individual: sales@, support@, users@, list@, etc. (These are email addresses that can belong to more than one person and have a higher likelihood of being marked as spam).
    *They are not email addresses that you captured from your address book without prior consent (including but not limited to: user group addresses, transactional addresses or auto-response addresses). Although it may be possible to add these types of addresses (such as Craigslist and Yahoo! Group email addresses) to your contact lists, Constant Contact will not send to them and you must remove them.

    I apologize that my OP was not clear. We followed Constant Contact's permission policy. And for further clarity...we literally received hundreds of supportive replies, volunteer inquiries, donations etc. What was most unfortunate and disheatening was that 29 complaints could potentially ruin a very good thing.

    The organization is looking to me for guidance and I have again suggested that we use Constant Contact's "Permission Reminder". The Permission Reminder is a standard message that appears at the top of your email. It reminds your contacts why they are receiving your email and makes it easier for them to click an “Unsubscribe” link (instead of the Report Spam button) if they do not want to receive your emails.

    I am hopeful that we'll go with this from this point forward. Time will tell.


    P.S. One other thing that really surprised me is that I helped someone else who had much worse (spam) numbers on his Aweber list and he never heard word one from them.
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  • Profile picture of the author AndyBeard
    I once read a great post on the Mailchimp blog about what they expect when a new list is moved over.

    That first email can be a problem for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being lots of people who previously didn't see emails because they ended up in spam suddenly received them again, but because they had forgotton signing up flagged them as spam.

    I suppose with a list that has never been mailed before it is similar, or maybe you were previously using outlook for mail and they weren't receiving them.
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