Anti Spam


An Introduction to Topica and the Abuse Prevention Community
As one of the largest email service providers, Topica Inc. works with the email abuse prevention community to find solutions to the problem of unsolicited email. The company has consistently taken a leadership role in abuse prevention:

  • In Q3 2003, Topica along with 36 other Email Service Providers, announced technical specifications and requirements necessary for the development of a robust system designed to eradicate spam by attacking the root of the problem — a lack of secure identity and accountability in email. This unique registry approach, named Project Lumos, provides Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and others with a means of securely identifying and authenticating email senders. A whitepaper was released detailing the architecture and its easy implementation.

  • In Q1 2003, Topica, along with eighteen other major Email Service Providers, became a founding member of the Email Service Provider Coalition of the National Advertising Initiative (NAI). This group was formed in response to overwhelming public concern regarding the proliferation of spam and business concerns regarding the increasing difficulty in delivering legitimate, permission-based email messages.

  • In Q4, 2002, Topica joins the Internet Alliance and announces new partnerships with associations and companies aimed at abuse.

  • In Q3, 2002, Topica began offering new tools to encourage the use of Confirmed Opt-in among users of Topica Email Publisher, its paid service. The company also began utilizing innovative "shut-down" tools to further enforce its permission policies. The same applies to all subsequently launched services.

  • In 2001, Topica Exchange, the free service hosting over 50,000 discussion groups and newsletters, moved to require Confirmed Opt-in (Double opt-in) for 100% of all subscribers added to the service. Lists on Topica Exchange serve over 50 million subscribers, making the service one of the largest confirmed opt-in communities and giving testimony to the effectiveness of confirmed opt-in.

Topica is proud to be a member of TRUST-e and the Internet Alliance, organizations that are dedicated to protecting consumer privacy, curbing unsolicited commercial email (or "Spam"), and promoting responsible email practices.

Defining Spam
Email is a critical and effective means of communication for groups like legitimate marketers, publishers, non-profits and small businesses. All users suffer when inboxes are clogged with mail that is unwanted and unrequested, i.e. Spam.

Technically, "Spam" is defined as Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE). But beyond the technical definition, there is confusion: What email is wanted? What constitutes permission?

The answer is simple: If you are not 100% sure as a list owner that you are using an email address for the purpose for which permission was given to you, you are probably sending Spam.

Topica has a strict policy against Spam. As one of the nation's largest and most popular providers of email services, now serving over 50,000 mailers, we feel a responsibility towards strict enforcement of permission-based practices. When a subscriber complains, they are unsubscribed from a list, and these subscriber complaints are investigated and often result in termination of a List Owner's account with us. This policy will tell you about the tools we give List Owners to help make sure their email is permission-based, and will let you know how we enforce our policy.


What You Should Know as a List Owner
Topica offers a free list-hosting service, Topica Exchange, as well as a paid marketing application, the Topica Online Marketing and Sales Solution. Whichever service you use, Topica follows strict permission-based email policies to insure that mail is only sent to subscribers who have asked to receive it. We have invested heavily in extensive measures to prevent unsolicited commercial email from being sent through our services.

Whether you are using Topica Exchange or Topica's Online Marketing and Sales Solution, we require that you abide by our strictly-enforced Terms of Service. These Terms state that Topica will not be used to "transmit, disseminate or upload spam, chain letters, junk mail or any other type of unsolicited mass email..." In the event that Topica determines that a List Owner is sending email to subscribers who have not given permission to receive it, Topica has the right to delete a customer's list and terminate their use of the Topica service.

Topica Exchange
Topica Exchange is our free list-hosting service. It's a service dedicated to the creation and management of free discussion groups and newsletters. It's a 100% confirmed opt-in service, where subscribers to every list hosted on the service must confirm their subscription by responding to a confirmation email.

Topica's Online Marketing and Sales Solution
Topica's Online Marketing and Sales Solution is our paid marketing service. Its users may collect and import customers with permission from those customers

Precautions
There are several precautions that we take to prevent the possibility of Spam:

  • On Topica Exchange, we require that all lists be confirmed opt-in and provide the tools for your subscribers to confirm their subscription to your discussion group or newsletter, meaning they must respond to a confirmation email sent to them after the user has either subscribed to a list or has been added to a list by you, the list owner.

  • On Topica Exchange discussion groups, only subscribers of a particular list are permitted to post messages to that list. This prevents posting from unknown persons outside the community.

  • On Topica's Online Marketing and Sales Solution, it's not a requirement that lists be confirmed opt-in but we provide the tools (and highly recommend their use) for your subscribers to confirm their subscription to your list by responding to a confirmation email (whether they've signed up through a remote subscription form that we provide or whether you add subscribers directly). We also provide the tools that allow you to send existing, "unconfirmed" subscribers messages asking that they confirm their subscription to your list.

  • All email sent by Topica must include an "Unsubscribe" link that automatically removes the recipient's address from that list.

  • Any subscriber email addresses that are publicly displayed (such are on the Demographic Survey page on Topica) are encoded on our sites to ensure that email harvesters are unable to collect them.

  • Topica supports and provides administrative tools to make it easy for anyone to moderate their own list, specifically discussion lists on Topica Exchange. This allows List Owners to serve as a Spam filter on their own lists.

  • Topica prohibits email sent to Role Accounts. Role Accounts are specific email aliases, such as info@---.com that are reserved by convention to be used by departments, job roles, or distribution lists for groups of people. If you know of any of your subscribers using a role account, please let them know that they should use a personal email address or another email account to subscribe to your list. If you have any questions specifically on role accounts and Topica's restriction of their use, please contact our Privacy and Standards department.

  • Individuals within our Privacy and Standards and our Customer Success departments are dedicated to monitoring our abuse queues, which alert us to complaints on mail sent through our services, and ensuring the proper use our system. A violation of our terms of service, which strictly prohibits the sending of anything other than permission-based mail, will lead to a termination of service.

What You Should Know as a Subscriber to a List on Topica

Unsubscribing from Mail Sent Through Topica
We provide One-Click Unsubscribe Links in every email we send. You, as a subscriber to mail sent through Topica, can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the Unsubscribe link at the bottom of any Topica email. Your email address will be automatically removed from that mailing list, although it may take up to 24-48 hours to process.

If our systems are temporarily down or you suspect, for any reason, that your email address has not been unsubscribed upon request, please contact our Customer Success department.

How to Send Us Spam Complaints
If you feel that you've received mail sent through Topica that you did not request, please contact our Abuse Team including a copy of the offending eamil. Also, if you suspect someone of abusing Topica's services, please let our Abuse Team know so that we can take the appropriate steps.


What All Users Can Expect from Topica, Inc.
All users can expect that we take Spam very seriously and have spent great efforts to restrict its presence on our services.

Know that we've taken many precautions and have provided many tools to our List Owners to ensure that our service be used to send mail to only those recipients that have requested it.

Know that our dedicated Privacy and Standards and our Customer Success teams diligently monitor all mail that comes to us with complaints of Spam and complaints of abuse on our system. We monitor this mail and take action on any violators of our terms of service, strictly enforcing our policy that only permission-based mail be sent through our services.

Know that we stand in front of all email sent through our services. We're very proud to be one of the largest and most popular email publishing services on the Internet today. We're proud to place the Topica brand in our mailings. And we're proud to offer our services in a way that curbs the use of Spam and protects users' privacy and stays true to our partnerships with the Internet Alliance and TrustE.


Information on Topica's Anti-Spam Policy for ISPs and Network Administrators

Topica offers a free list-hosting service, as well as paid marketing automation software. Topica follows strict permission-based email policies across both services to insure that mail is only sent to subscribers who have asked to receive it, and we have invested heavily in extensive measures to prevent unsolicited commercial email (or "Spam") from being sent through Topica. Our anti-spam policy is something we take very seriously; therefore we have implemented the following tactics:

Dedicated Team: We established a dedicated Privacy and Standards team, led by Bill McCaulley, Vice President of Finance and Operations. This team proactively educates our customers regarding best practices, and we take fast action when abuse occurs. Our Privacy and Standards department as well as individuals in our Customer Success department are dedicated to monitoring our abuse queues, which alert us to complaints on mail sent through our services.

Strict Requirements: We require List Owners with large opt-in lists to submit disclosure forms, for review by our Privacy and Standards department prior to activation. All email sent through our system includes header information that identifies the List Owner that sent the mail.

Bad Address Detection: We have proprietary technology for the detection of bad addresses upon import, automatically disabling accounts when addresses appear not to be permission-based.

Complaint Tracking: We track complaint levels for each List Owner and each list. Our strict suspension processes allow us to suspend customers quickly upon proof of abuse. If users on your service complain about messages sent from our service, please forward the message in question with full headers and with the original recipient email address intact to our Privacy and Standards department. After receiving this, our Privacy and Standards team will be able to handle complaints in accordance with our Terms of Service. Actions may include account suspension and account termination.

If you administer a large network, we can set up a dedicated process and established complaint threshold for handling your users' complaints. When your users complain regarding email from any of our domains, we can set up a priority address for you to forward the complaints to us. If you would like us to set up a priority complaint queue for your domain, please contact our Privacy and Standards department.

If you're looking to unsubscribe multiple individuals or a domain from the Topica services, please have the authorized representative of your company contact our Abuse Team.

If you have questions or concerns about our policies, please contact our Privacy and Standards department.

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