Today a client received an e-mail bounce-back from Spam Arrest, which provides a challenge-response system to stop automated junk mail. The first time a sender sends e-mail to a protected recipient, the sender must follow a link in the bounce-back message to a web page where, following user entry of a one-time verification code, the sender is identified as a legitimate e-mail sender.
During the past several years I have gone through the Spam Arrest verification process a few times and never thought much of it. But when I followed the link in the client’s e-mail, I saw something that, to the best of my knowledge, I had never seen before: the Sender Agreement reproduced toward the end of this post.
I was pretty shocked. In effect, the agreement requires that the sender send commercial e-mail only if the recipient has opted-in. Furthermore, the sender agrees to pay the recipient and Spam Arrest $2,000 for each violation of the agreement!
I’m not a spammer, but I do send a monthly e-mail to hundreds of recipients on an opt-out, rather than opt-in, basis in accordance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Nevertheless, if I were to agree to the terms of the Sender Agreement, I would subject myself to liability for liquidated damages of $2,000 per month. As a result, the next time I receive a Spam Arrest bounce-back, I probably will be forced to cease e-mail communication with the intended recipient.
Here are my thoughts about how Spam Arrest should be approached:
- Recipients / prospective Spam Arrest customers – Be sure that you want to impose an agreement that may be impossible for some legitimate senders to satisfy.
- Senders – Stay as far away from Spam Arrest as possible.
SENDER AGREEMENT – By clicking the “VERIFY” button above, and in consideration for Spam Arrest, LLC forwarding your e-mail (and any e-mails you may send in the future) to the intended recipient (the “Recipient”), you agree to be bound by the following Sender Agreement:
You represent and warrant to Spam Arrest and the Recipient that any e-mail you desire to send to the Recipient is not “unsolicited commercial e-mail” i.e., the e-mail does not primarily contain an advertisement or promotion of a commercial product, service or Web site; unless the Recipient expressly consented to receive the message, either in response to a clear and conspicuous request for such consent or at the Recipient’s own initiative. Further, you represent and warrant that your transmission of any e-mail does not violate any local, state or federal law governing the transmission of unsolicited commercial e-mail, including, but not limited to, RCW 19.190.020 or the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. You understand and acknowledge that it is fair and reasonable that you agree to abide by the restrictions set forth in this agreement. You acknowledge and agree that this agreement is central to Spam Arrest’s decision to forward your e-mails to the Recipient. Accordingly, if you violate this agreement, Spam Arrest and the Recipient shall be entitled to (1) temporary and/or permanent injunctive relief to restrain any further breaches or violations of this agreement; and (2) damages in the amount of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for each violation of this agreement. You acknowledge that such remedies are appropriate and reasonable in light of the costs and expenses Spam Arrest incurs as a result of eradicating and filtering unsolicited commercial e-mail. You acknowledge that the $2000.00 remedy is a reasonable estimate of Spam Arrest’s and the Recipient’s actual damages. This agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Washington and the exclusive venue for any action related to this agreement shall be held in the state and federal courts located in Washington. You hereby waive any right to object to venue or jurisdiction based on inconvenient forum, lack of personal jurisdiction or for any other reason.
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.