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MailChimp's Ban on Cryptocurrency Marketing Is Causing Collateral Damage (inc.com)
203 points by exolymph on Apr 4, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 131 comments



Bingo Card Creator's MailChimp account got shut down once for gambling content. I sent in a request to support with an explanation that there was no gambling involved; the matter was resolved within a business day.

Running an email service provider is a rough business:

a) Emails hitting inboxes are basically indistinguishable from cash at scale, and therefore you have all the fraud problems of a payments business but without a lot of the built-in fraud resolution systems

b) There exists an oligopoly of inbox providers who have a Nuke Your Business From Orbit button available to them, and that button can and will be pushed by a cron job if you do not keep your customers squeaky clean

c) The customer population is frequently low-sophistication, like the owners of flower shops or virtually anyone in the cryptocurrency economy (my apologies to professional journalists like, err, Two Bit Idiot)

d) Per-account values are, at the low end, really, really low by the standards of B2B SaaS, and as a result your customer service has to get operated in a very scalable fashion, and that implies some tradeoffs where not everybody is going to be happy with it 100% of the time.


Not enough people understand (b). Email providers have firm policies (i.e., robots) because they themselves are at the mercy of inbox provider robots.


Yeah, having worked on a medium scale web service that sent email before the days of managed email list SaaS like MailChimp... I don't miss those days.


What stops a business owner from abstracting away the underlying email provider and sending domain, so that their email campaigns can be up and running again in minutes if Mailchimp bans them? Thankfully there are several reputable email service providers...and most companies have more than one top-level domain associated with their name...so a legitimate business should be able to keep their email program running without exposing their neck to the mercy of a single bot (atleast until the issue is resolved by support). Real spammers would quickly get banned from all major providers (hopefully), and the content of the spam email would get machine-learned.


Nothing really prevents this; a company I work with does something similar, and as long as you engineer your use of the platforms to be flexible and not rely on platform-specific features (for example MailChimp and SendGrid use slightly different templating approaches, and support different amounts of logic in the templates), it's doable.

This is the same idea as making your system work across availability zones/datacenters/cloud providers. At a certain scale it becomes a good idea.


I receive cryptocurrency & ICO spam sent via mailchimp several times a week and usually report it right away. Few weeks ago I called out the CEO of a blockchain company and demanded to know how they got my email since clearly I had no relation with them before. They admitted to have bought a list of addresses from another party where my email was part of the dump. After reporting this I still kept getting spam though. This morning another firm spammed me via MailChimp and despite Mailchimp's claims that they've cracked down on it no statement or apology from them, and I even got the impression that they were looking at me like I'm somehow overly pedantic ... (I was pretty pissed so my reply wasn't as friendly as it could have been): https://twitter.com/ValbonneConsult/status/98149715690437427...

The basic problem seems to me MailChimp's assumption that people only upload address lists from users they have consent from, when in reality everyone just uploads their LinkedIn address books and hopes not too many will press the "report" button. I am seriously fed up with Mailchimp not taking any actual action against these users after I already told them that I don't consent to receiving any messages about any topic from anybody via their platform. MailChimp should add a feature IMO where if somebody uploads an email address of people opting out that this person will be blacklisted from further using MailChimp.


> assumption that people only upload address lists from users they have consent from

It's not an assumption, it's a core of e-mail marketing business. They can't really ask for consent to receive marketing e-mails, because they can't get much consent for this. So the whole thing relies on people being tricked into giving away e-mail addresses, unknowingly consenting to e-mail marketing, being lazy to fight unsubscribing bureaucracy, etc.


There’s no unsubscribe policy that would get your address out of a “100000 Java developers emails” dump sold freely on the internet.


The tech community has an incredible disconnect with the marketing community here. We all assume buying dumps of email addresses is a bad thing, we all hate it, we all think people are working with us to stamp out the practice.

I have friends in sales in other businesses to who look at their entire job as being "buy Google ads, buy Facebook ads, buy email lists". The idea such a thing might not be ethical is absolutely foreign to them.


I am confused by how anyone who uses email to a significant degree could not understand that unsolicited bulk email is harmful. Sure, modern spam filtering is pretty effective, but any time a significant amount gets through, it becomes very difficult to use your email account for anything practical.

It doesn't take tech expertise to understand this, nor an especially advanced or specialized worldview to understand that breaking things for other people might be ethically questionable.


There's a huge difference between buying ads and straight up buying email lists...


I agree with you, but my whole point is that not everyone does.


Buying dumps of emails ARE a bad thing, even marketers know that.

As both a marketer and a developer, I can say that buying an email dump is NEVER something that I would do, but not its for the ethics of it (we all know marketers have no ethics). I wouldn't buy a list to spam because THAT list isn't MY list.

The hit/conversion rate on a list of random emails, or even semi-qualified emails, that you don't have a relationship with is so incredibly low, that it isn't worth it to spam their inbox, risking my reputation (opens & clicks to spam ratio).

A one percent uptick in spam reports is enough to downgrade my sending IP enough that my real customers would start missing my emails.

Real marketers aren't going to send a automated marketing email to a list of people they don't have a relationship with.


Most of the spam that hits my work email is people offering to sell email lists...


> They admitted to have bought a list of addresses from another party where my email was part of the dump.

This is such a crappy practice for bootstrapping a new email marketing list, few things infuriate me as much as this. If nothing else, it instantly makes me never want to even look at your new product or service regardless of how good it might be.


I added the +coin name to my email when signing up for a crypto-related product years ago, have since seen that redistributed a dozen times for very obscure ICO projects.


The problem with this strategy is that it's trivial to run a script to strip off the +coin from the end.

I have my own domain name, so I've started using address aliases for different things. There's no way that they can get around that.


>There's no way that they can get around that.

unless you use high entropy aliases, there's nothing preventing someone from filtering out all the emails with "uncommon" domains for secondary examination. at that point, you can manually ascertain whether the email address is an alias or not.

    john@example.com       probably a legit address
    bitcoin@example.com    probably an alias
at that point you can either not send to that email, or if you're extra evil, try to frame another company (try sending to amazon@example.com or ethereum@example.com). it's not even that hard to do because 99.9% of people don't use custom email domains.


Email marketing is a numbers game, I doubt anyone is wasting time looking at individual addresses.


And even if a script could easily process addresses in an automated manner, it might be actively harmful to a marketer to do so. People who intentionally use disposable addresses are probably less likely to respond to email marketing and more likely to take actions against the marketer.


It's trivial to write that script, but not any more trivial than just generating lots of common_name@common_domain email addresses. Once you're willing to spam emails that didn't opt-in even to a list that you bought, you've entered into very shady territory.


Email providers should make it easy to create a (temporary) alias. E.g.: x6ab2fe0e@example.com


> MailChimp should add a feature IMO where if somebody uploads an email address of people opting out that this person will be blacklisted from further using MailChimp.

That would be the easiest way to eliminate spam from MailChimp's platform. Also probably the quickest way to eliminate a vast majority of their paying customers.


I‘d even pay for a feature where I would get an email from MailChimp whenever my E-Mail-Address is added to their database.


Unfortunately, not as much as the collective number of people who are willing to pay to send you an email through their platform.


Maybe a Honeypot approach would work here.


I send out a newsletter to customers about once per quarter. All recipients have opted in by actively checking a checkbox.

I'm pretty sure these mail services already monitor unsubscribe rates and spam flags. But there will always be false positives, i. e. legitimate recipients flagging a newsletter because they no longer want to receive it, or because they forgot they agreed.

Spam recipients, on the other hand, may not report these messages often enough. Some just don't bother, others rely on their mail client or company's filters.

That could make it difficult to find a reliable cut-off separating legitimate and spam mail.

The only real solution to this would be for the mail services to handle opt-in procedures. That, however, would effectively lock you in to a single provider, because it'd be suicide to change providers and ask for confirmation from every recipient again.


I don't bother reporting spam on one account. In fact, I created a rule specifically filtering spam to go to my inbox. Pretty much the only people who bother me are those who don't set their dates properly. What I mean is they set their spam to say June 02 on an email sent on February 06 of the same year. I will not hesitate to report any such email as spam. This doesn't happen often but I hope google (or any email provider) punishes such senders severely maybe even blacklist the domain.


Yeah the advice on not clicking unsubscribe or report on spam emails is wrong advice. It doesn't verify your email (other ways to do that easily). But reporting or unsubscribing will often get you off that list.


Turns out it's illegal in the UK to buy email dumps and send everyone newsletters/marketing emails -- you need explicit consent (i.e. opt-in) or a pre-existing relationship.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy_and_Electronic_Communi...


Given the “(EC Directive)” part I assume this is true across the whole EU.


Yeah it’s illegal to break the speed limit, too. If everybody does it and it’s selectively enforced who cares.


The drivers getting tickets.

I found your response very lacking. Why should everyone abandon care? Obviously some speed and others don't.


> I am seriously fed up with Mailchimp not taking any actual action against these users after I already told them that I don't consent to receiving any messages about any topic from anybody via their platform.

I feel your pain, but it's worth noting that email, by its very design, is intended to be open to receiving unsolicited messages. So frankly, by using email at all you have actually consented to receive unwanted emails from time to time.

I think it's unreasonable to expect MailChimp to maintain a ruthless approach to prevent people from doing something that can be done with any email client, sendmail, or any number of tools that use the open protocol of email.

Things are bad enough as it is with closed and segmented communications methods on the rise. I'm pretty happy that email exists the way that it does, and MailChimp strikes me as a company that really works hard to strike a balance between the competing needs of being useful for sending mass emails while being mindful of spam.


You are factually wrong. You are indeed right that email was designed to be open, but because emails became unusable in that form about 20 years ago, every mail provider have deployed massive spam filters that rejects most unsolicited mails. Hence, currently, email is not open to unwanted emails, one have to go through many holes to arrive to mailboxes where he isn't invited.

The filters are so good, that many people find that they can't even reach people that have asked them to subscribe to their mails, because they are still filtered out as spam. Enter MailChimp, the trusted mass mailer provider that help companies bypass the spam filters by giving their mail a respectable envelope. If they allow spammers their envelope shouldn't be respected. Actually, that's clearly the theme of the OP.

And no, by using email I consented nothing. Where I live that's actually the law - I can sue whoever sends me commercial unsolicited email, unless given explicit permission (opt-in), spammer can be liable for compensation for each and every incident.


I wish I had an inbox as well protected as what you describe but unfortunately - at least half of the non operational emails I receive are solicitation... so it seems pretty open to me...


That's kind of survivors bias. You are not aware to the mass of mail that doesn't appear in your mailbox. When you are in the sending side, you quickly find that you don't reach your audience.

If it was open you would probably be receiving hundreds of them a minute. The filters means many don't even try, but if the required effort was zero we would be flooded with them.

The situation was so bad before the filtering products were invented that Bill Gates tried to push small fees (stamps) as a requirement for sending emails (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fee-based-e-mail-way-to-can-spa...).


I think it's actually pretty reasonable to expect a company based on doing mass mailouts to accept "do not call" requests from individuals.


Crypterium, by any chance?

I signed up there with crypterium.io@mydomain. Some time after, I start getting blockchain-related spam to that address. I wonder how that happened!

When I pointed out on their Telegram channel that one of two things had happened, a) they sold me, b) they got hacked, I was threatened with a ban. Their fans thought I was a raving lunatic.

I now have a support ticket open. Surprisingly it isn't really going anywhere.

I no longer accept email at crypterium.io@mydomain...


a) Don't use telegram. At least for crypto it's an utter cesspool of maniac mods on a power trip while no one who is really from the company is ever there. b) FWIW, my crypterium email never got any spam.


Every major email provider and sender already does that. That's table stakes, along with a dozen other things, that's required or else your network will be 99% spam (if it gets any kind of volume, that is).

See https://blog.mailchimp.com/where-spam-traps-come-from-and-ho...


What I want to know is how will MailChimp behave after GDPR kicks in? Will they be more drastic in the clamping down offenders as the penalty for GDPR violations can be substantial.


MC likely acts as a data processor on behalf of it's clients - therefore from a GDPR perspective consent requirement rests on their clients which would be data controllers.

that being said - MC and other reputable ESPs have for awhile been much more concerned about consent for deliverability reasons


Processors have plenty of liabilities under the GDPR.

https://www.taylorwessing.com/globaldatahub/article-obligati...


absolutely - but they do not have to ensure that data they process is properly consented - that is the role of the data collector.


Funny story. I actually sat next to a person on my last flight who does this for a living. She indicated they do business for large companies and small ones too.

They are paid on a lead basis. Average lead price is $5-$10. I don’t know many campaigns they run at a time, but I glanced at her laptop and it looked like at least 100 active campaigns.

There is big money in this as such people will pay to get investors.

I asked about her reason for travels. She was actually going to a conference for others in her field.


Mailchimp actually states that list buying is a no go on their platform. They also have a very nice unsubscribe system that they honor - even if the downstream customer doesn't want to.

I'm sorry you've had issues with them. I hope you got a bad rep and they haven't become evil. When I used to do business with them I genuinely felt they wanted to do the right thing.


My understanding and experience is that if you complain about a specific email source, MC will ask them to prove they got your name legitimately. Now, I'm sure this can be faked, but I'm not sure MC is to blame.


After my email was leaked on the bit coin forum dump, I get the same kind of spam via email and also targeted ads on Google and Facebook.


I think about 3 times a week I get emails from a new cryptocurrency upstart that I've never heard of but which is using either the hacked Mt.Gox or BTC-e list.

The practices these people are using are scummy as fuck.


It's possible to block all mail sent through mass mailers like mailchimp and many others like it. Just block by the connecting client address/reverse looked up domain. They don't use that many 2nd level domains. If they're sensible they'll penalize senders for sending to email address that return 5xx errors and drop your address from their lists permanently.


And then you end up losing legitimate mail as well.


Why? Just use different address for the legitimate service and whitelist it. If an address is out there on some spam list, you'll be getting spam to it eventually.

I have different rules for different addresses. Public e-mail adresses and e-mail adresses that are meant for online services. Public ones are permanent and filtered and mailchimp and similar don't get to send mail there. The other type of address is whitelisted and disposable. Everything ends in the same mailbox. Works like a charm.


This is an extremely poorly written article. I'm glad most of the comments seem to be ignoring the actual text in it.

What collateral damage is being done? It seems to me the opposite of collateral damage is being done: Mailchimp has banned cryptocurrency-related email lists, and those writing cryptocurrency-related emails have lost that ability.

Beyond the absurdity of the title, email has always been decentralized. Anyone with a server can send or receive email with whatever technology stack they so wish. Of course, because there is no trust framework, there's no guarantee that your email will get delivered… Which is why Mailchimp validated the opposite of the article's conclusion: there is lots of value in centralizing the management of email. They can act as a trusted authority to negotiate with various email hosts and guarantee(-ish) to customers that the emails will get delivered.


> What collateral damage is being done?

The damage is that if you're writing about cryptocurrency as a topic, the same way any media publication would (rather than trying to scam anyone or sell anything) you're still getting shut down.


All of the examples in the article (zeitgeist-style newsletters) fall very clearly under a marketing umbrella by my judgement. They're the TV Guides of cryptocurrency. Maybe they don't (all) have affiliate links, but advertising is far beyond that line in 2018. If it's got the name of a specific currency in any of the emails, it's marketing.


> If it's got the name of a specific currency in any of the emails, it's marketing.

I think this is way too broad and leads to absurd conclusions. For instance there's an MIT research group whose mailing list I subscribe to (not mailchimp) and which would fall under marketing by your criteria. Papers with specific cryptocurrency names occasionally appear in top CS conferences.


Yes, capitalism has infested every corner of our existence. Universities and conferences are massive distributors of marketing materials. They are both capitalistic enterprises.

It is very difficult to find non-marketing content in modern times. Especially in America.


Do you think literally every piece of research which studies for e.g. something about ethereum is marketing for ethereum? Would you use the same logic to conclude that a systems paper that implements some novel kernel architecture by patching linux and running experiments is "marketing for Linux"? That someone implementing a novel language feature in GHC is "marketing for Haskell"? That a paper evaluating QUIC using anonymous Chrome telemetry is "marketing for Chrome"?


The whole business model of MailChimp is to get people to pay to send emails, so obviously they are not averse to marketing per se. The reason people are unhappy is that if I can send "MySQL news this week" updates to my hypothetical subscribers on MailChimp, why can't I send "Ethereum news this week"? Educational and informational materials are significantly different from "Buy my token!11"


If you're paying to send people "Ethereum news this week", it's because you have a financial interest in promoting certain things that happen on Ethereum. There are plenty of places you can discuss Ethereum without paying for it.


Fill me in here: if you're really not selling or promoting anything, what's the use case of MailChimp? MailChimp didn't make all other mailing lists and forums stop existing. It's just the service that's optimized for marketing, for the case where if someone doesn't see your e-mail, it's your loss and not theirs.

Like, if you want to have an erudite discussion of the technical and mathematical underpinnings of zk-SNARKs, there must be a substantial number of people in that discussion who are capable of setting up a Mailman server.


The New York Times has newsletters. They are 'promoting' their content by sending you email updates, but that doesn't mean they are equivalent to ICO scammers.

Here's a response from MailChimp to a nonprofit educational org that suggests they are willing to make distinctions and not just class everyone who writes blockchain-related content as shady: https://twitter.com/MailChimp/status/981554164626010112


I don't know why you'd think I'd be surprised that MailChimp has customers who use it for its purpose, which is marketing.

It seems you're saying that MailChimp should be entirely neutral and should let you promote anything you want, and they disagree. MailChimp does not want to allow cryptocurrency promotions. Cryptocurrency promotions have negative externalities. That's not collateral damage, it's the entire point of their decision.

Whether they are "equivalent to ICO scammers" doesn't enter into it.


Hi, I wrote the article (although not the title). I highlighted this as an issue because MailChimp said it would allow cryptocurrency newsletters that weren't pumping ICOs to keep doing their thing, but didn't follow through on that — or at least hasn't yet.


My biggest problem with the article is that it doesn't even define "ICO". There's this whole community around cryptocurrency trading which seems to have popped up quite suddenly in just the past year or so, with their own jargon and memes.

I own small amounts of Bitcoin and Monero, I've been following the technology with interest for quite some time, and yet the whole "crypto" craze still seems like another alien world.


ICOs and Cryptocurrencies aren't being singled out so much as categorized by the behavior of the topic/community. MC has a long list of product categories that they have empirically found to have deliverability issues so bad that they harm all of their other users.

Escort and dating services

Pharmaceutical products

Work from home, make money online, and lead generation opportunities

Gambling services or products

Multi-level marketing

Affiliate marketing

Credit repair and get out of debt opportunities

List brokers or list rental services

Selling “Likes” or followers for a social media platform

Cryptocurrencies are just the latest. You can read the whole list and more clarifications here (it's very clear and readable for legal documentation): https://mailchimp.com/legal/acceptable_use/


>deliverability issues so bad that they harm all of their other users.

Why does this harms users who follow the guidelines to show origin/identity (SPF, DKIM, dedicated IP, etc.)? We also use SendGrid for transactional emails and it's the same: some hosts (like Office 365) have told us that they weight all messages coming from sendgrid.net to their users as SPAM because they've seen so many issues there.

I pointed out that they should be able to distinguish between spammers and those who, like us, are positively identifiable and have not engaged in SPAM. No avail.

Are they being lazy, or am I missing something?


If the IP addresses get associated with to many spam reports, unsubscribes etc the gmail etc will start to associate these IP addresses as bad, and will be more likely to just block them no matter what the content.


Don't host emails where the IPs used have a high chance that they have been used before. So no AWS/Azure/xyz stuff.


There are actually 3rd party services that mail companies can use to check how trusted an IP is. So a lot of times, they'll provision an EIP on AWS, run a check against that service, use it if it's clean, and release and try again if it's not.

It does lock you to using EIPs though, which makes it a bit harder to scale up.


You might be interested in a provider-agnostic email API I am building to to avoid EIP/provider lock-in and have the security of multiple dedicated IP providers. Check it out: flutemail.com


What's an EIP?


Elastic IP. You can reserve EIPs from among Amazon's pool and allocate them to other AWS resources that need public-facing IPs (like an EC2 machine).


I've gotten far more spam from SendGrid than anything legitimate. They deserve every bit of their bad reputation with Microsoft's email folks.


Interesting. From a legit user's perspective, it's a bit of a hassle to comply with their deliverability hurdles. First, there's a somewhat involved "whitelabeling" and setup process. Then, there's managing suppressions, unsubscribes, etc. You also have to be mindful of service interruptions if your reputation goes too low (i.e. from bounces, spam reports, etc.)

So, seems like they are doing everything reasonable to prevent spamming through their service. Not sure what else an ESP can do.

But, maybe they've just managed to make it more difficult for legit users than spammers.


> seems like they are doing everything reasonable to prevent spamming through their service. Not sure what else an ESP can do.

Sendgrid charge you to use a dedicated IP address for sending your mail. If you don't set this up -- and configure your SPF record to specify this IP, against the explicit instructions Sendgrid gives you -- anyone else can sign up with Sendgrid and send email as you. Their configuration guides and tooling actually encourage you to enable impersonation on yourself.

So, maybe they're doing everything they can to prevent spamming, but they're sure doing a lot to encourage phishing.


One thing they're not doing: Mandating confirmed opt-in. Asking the recipient if they want to receive email is the only way to confirm it's actually requested.


I don't know about their marketing email policies, but we use it for transactional emails, wherein opt-in consent is generally not explicit.

For instance, if you use it for service delivery (payment receipts, invoices, password resets, etc), there is no separate opt-in process beyond the fact that recipients are your users who signed up for your service.

I'm not sure how any ESP could enforce the notion of opting in under these circumstances.


> there is no separate opt-in process beyond the fact that recipients are your users who signed up for your service.

That's not a fact that the recipients are users that signed up for it. As someone with a first letter + last name @ gmail account, I can't tell you how many transactional emails I get for things I never signed up for. Try getting a bank to take your email address off of someone else's account—damn near impossible.


>That's not a fact that the recipients are users that signed up for it.

It is if you use an email verification step as part of your sign-up flow, which we do. At most, someone could sign up with someone else's address and generate a confirmation email, but it'd only be once per address and that's the price of an open Web.

Anyway, I'm aware that not everyone does this, but at a certain point there's not much an ESP can do, beyond which there's essentially trust and monitoring.


If you're using a dedicated IP, then yes, they are being lazy. Or they have some vendetta with sendgrid maybe.

There's always the possibility that your dedicated IP isn't as clean as you would hope. You can check here: https://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx


> On the other hand, MailChimp's decision validates the whole decentralization value proposition that drives cryptocurrencies. Sure, there are other email newsletter platforms. Upstart Substack, which is sort of like Patreon for email newsletters, reached out to at least one unhappy former MailChimp customer.

And this kind of gets to the nub of it. Centralization brings massive economies of scale, and allows you to free ride off the deliverability of other newsletters that don't come anywhere near talking about potentially fraudulent activity. But you have to play by their rules and you're at the mercy of one day being no longer welcome, even if you've paid them thousands of dollars before.

Of course, you're welcome to go off and run your own server / roll your own email protocol / used a 'decentralized' platform or Gab or Voat or whatever, but often a) these things end up being a lot less decentralized than you think, and b) good luck getting anyone to know, care about, or trust you.


This is the classic cycle, that happens for 'decentralized' services like email:

1) Design decentralized service, with low barriers to entry

2) Jerks start using the service for bad things that make life miserable for the rest of the users.

3) To combat the spam, some service providers start creating whitelists of which other service providers they will talk to

4) People flock to those service providers, because they are the only ones that aren't flooded with spam.

5) Holdouts end up HAVING to switch to one of those providers because they are the only ones anyone talks to.

6) The service is no longer decentralized in practice

I don't know how we get around this problem. These people complaining about not being able to send cryptocurrency emails through mailchimp are complaining about the centralization of the service, but most end users are thinking, "I am really glad I dont have to deal with the spam they are trying to send me."

Most people WANT some barriers to entry for services, because without them, spammers will always win.


> I don't know how we get around this problem.

Charge $0.001 to deliver an email. Maybe in crypto or some kind of PoW. Legitimate senders won't care about $0.001.


> Charge $0.001 to deliver an email. Maybe in crypto or some kind of PoW. Legitimate senders won't care about $0.001.

So your solution to crypto people poisoning the well is something that will be incredibly inconvenient for everyone but crypto people?


Spam existed long before cryptocurrency was invented.


Funny you'd say that, Bitcoin's PoW algorithm (hashcash) was originally precisely designed for that use case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashcash


Ah, I see it's time to deploy https://craphound.com/spamsolutions.txt again. I'm always sad that that document has aged so well.


Email is especially funny as you can literally send email from any internet connected device, but the default assumption is that emails from new devices are just spam.


> the default assumption is that emails from new devices are just spam

What fraction of e-mails receive from new devices are spam? (Genuine question, if someone has a source or the data.)


correction - if you send thousands emails in short period of time - then new device is considered spam sender. Typically there are no issues sending small amount of emails (like logs from server) unless IP address was already blacklisted after actions of previous IP renter.


That is far from correct. Any device with DNS records will work just fine.


As someone who has managed multiple email servers I can assure you that this is not the case. You can do everything "correctly" and still be marked as spam on GMail for no apparent reason.


That was clearly your fault, because your IP lives in a bad neighborhood.


It is so much more complicated than that, the issues persisted for completely separated servers even after multiple IP address changes. Running a small mail server and all your email landing in your customers inboxes is something that simply doesn’t happen like it used to.


I run my own email server (for personal use, not corporate or anything) and maybe I've been lucky with my IPs so far but I don't have a lot of issue getting my emails through. Admittedly for personal email it might be a bit easier because most of my recipients already have me in their address book which probably helps getting through the filters.


(maybe) according to google, who gives absolutely zero insight into this, or even any indication it is even so.

great, might as well go to my local astrologer to consult about deliverability issues.


Just last month I sent an email and gmail silently hid the reply in the spam folder. Marking legitimate email as spam is just the normal functioning of gmail.


One of a myriad of reasons that this isn't true: https://www.spamhaus.org/pbl/


It will work fine in that it will send the email to the server you want it sent to. That doesn't mean it'll show up in most users inboxes.


Not if you do it right.


No man is an island and neither is any decentralized crypto-'coin'.

I think Mailchimp should have done this more tactfully, with a promise to deliver every legit coin newsletter email if the coin is actually in use for something other than speculation, a real use case, adopted and helping the world go round.

Where is the blockchain solution for spam, anyways? I have heard about some land registry in Africa that has moved onto the blockchain and I am ready to get my Kodak coins, fully bought in, expecting my Lamborghini to moon soon. But really, I am stumped when it comes to practical application for blockchain coin things. If I owned Mailchimp and was the benevolent dictator chimp in chief then I would freely deliver every legit coin email three times over if it could be proven to be legit rather than barely believable if you are on the Koolaid.


Except now you're opening yourself up to more problems, by being an editor. How do you determine which ones are "legit" or not? How do you deal with those behind the other emails who will claim up and down, all over Twitter and HN and everywhere that they're totally legit, but the big bad censor won't let them send? And, most importantly, how do you deal with the big email providers disagreeing with you, and lowering your company's reputation score as a result, making it harder for you to do business?


When I read the article's title, I expected this story to be about other email newsletter platforms being flooded with cryptocurrency mailers who were previously using MailChimp, and how their own deliverability performance was affected.

While I assume that what is described in the article might have happened with other verticals, I would be curious to see how this will play out in the larger emailing ecosystem given the current hype & aggressiveness of the commercial practices of at least some of the players in the cryptocurrency field (as attested by others here).


What are they right about?

E-mail is already decentralized. Anyone can send and receive an e-mail with only having network access as a barrier, and you only need a typical modern computer to send millions of them.

Mailchimp's value proposition is that by becoming an authority over a chunk of distribution using their brand, anything they send carries a badge of trust since they promise it isn't malicious. Their e-mail templates are a nice bonus, but I don't think that's the only reason some people use them. That mailchimp origin server is a keycard through a bunch of gatekeepers propped up as sentries against spam.

In essence e-mail is totally decentralized and trust is exchanged amongst members of ad-hoc federation of parties with a vested interest of having non-spam email get through the internet on both receiving and sending ends.

Is there a way a blockchain would make this market-based emergent system more efficient?


That's a problem earn.com could have solved, but unfortunately only ICO promoters ended up using the platform, I think


Does anyone know if earn.com had another name prior to around November 2017?

I figured it was just spam similar to what this thread refers to because I only ever get crypto-related emails from it. If it wasn't for the more-premium-than-most domain I'd have already auto-spammed it

Edit: Naturally seconds after asking I find an email from Angel List saying 21.co rebranded to earn.com.

As it turns out I'd been added or at some point had added myself to an "Airdrop" list, which is a list of people interested in cryptocoins. Removed myself from that and unchecked "Receive emails for tasks below your contact price?" should finally stop getting emails about dodgy new cryptocoins. Successful rubber duck debugging


Mailchimp is a spamming service. They pretend not to be, but that's what they really do. If Mailchimp was legit, they wouldn't have to work so hard to conceal where they're sending from.


Not the only shady thing, by using Firefox with a webmail interface, all Mailchimp's tracking is automatically removed, which means most businesses these days send me their promotional announcements as a blank email.

I don't know who's to blame - whether Mailchimp has tracking up the wazoo enabled by default and people need to be knowledgeable to turn it off, or if businesses just can't help themselves when offered analytic features, but it's pretty crazy how Mailchimp hosts enough of the email's content in cross-site tracking domains that sanitizing them leaves the mailouts empty.

When an advertising push looks like this you know they're using Mailchimp: https://i.imgur.com/Yv2QCv2.png

That "view this email in your browser" link even brings up a similarly blank webpage! That link is already tracked, by clicking on it they already know I've looked at the email and care enough to want to see it properly, but the web version is still woven whole out of cross-site tracking shenanigans that it's filtered out (e.g. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Firefox/Privacy/Tracking...).


Twitter is a better way to reach customers, because they specifically "opt-in" by following a business. No complaints about spamming people.


Mail chimp campaigns are also opt in for the most part.


I remember when I was trying to advertise my websites in newspapers back in the day and they "didn't allow advertisements for websites." This and all the other crypto bans (Facebook ads, Google ads, etc.) remind me of that- old regimes afraid of new better competition that aims to remove/replace them or make them less relevant. The future will be decentralized.


I highly doubt that MailChimp is banning the use of cryptocurrency marketing because they're afraid that cryptocurrency is going to usurp them...


> The future will be decentralized.

So was our past. How does cryptocurrency upset the balance of power that has caused centralisation to occur?

There have been scam after scam with cryptocurrencies, and despite every player experimenting with the blockchain concept, few results.

Cryptocurrencies have a very real cultural problem they need to overcome. This is a response to that cultural problem.


The problem is not with blockchain, the problem is that harder one tries to define how decentralization can be made into a self-sustaining reaction (rather than merely a transitional phase from one centralized regime to another), the more the concept evaporates. Blockchains are just the latest attempt to turn the base metal of conflict into the noble gold of cooperation.


No one is afraid of competition. Everyone is afraid of being complicit in fraud.


This is really more like they don't want to deal with deliverability issues and higher than average complaints


I remember when newspapers banned ads for penny stocks, timeshares and other junk too. The newspapers are mostly doing fine. How are the penny stocks getting on?


Newspaper aren't really doing fine though


Yes, but not because they banned penny stock ads.


how is bitcoin going to replace facebook exactly?


Let's entertain the question with our best answer:

If Facebook works because we spend the most valuable asset we have to offer which is our finite human life, then what does that have to do with bitcoin? We spend our life and we spend our money, so if one platform is based on ad revenue from our attention and the other platform is based on revenue from our trading of goods, then there may be a parallel where everything has a value even if it is not as tangible as heavy, cold, dirty gold.

Whether a "social" network or a "store of value" network, both of these examples exist because we are obsessed with being connected to one another. One could say that a big difference is that Bitcoin nodes don't usually share baby pics and Facebook posts don't usually parody wire transfers, but really both could easily do both.

At their guts, Facebook and Bitcoin are based on normal computers that have the knowledge and power to create streams of data from me to you. So, do we need a third party or can we handle it ourselves?

Disclaimer: I have some of my ETH in cryptokitties https://www.cryptokitties.co/ which is a crypto platform for trading kitten pics on the Ethereum network with an exact fiat currency equivalent. I can wire transfer you my kitten within minutes, value and all, but I won't. She's too cute.


Where did you read this?


I believe they're referring to:

"the other crypto bans (Facebook ads [...] etc.) remind me of [...] old regimes afraid of [...] competition that aims to remove/replace them"


With social networks where the users own their data.


Cryptocurrencies are not social networks.

Cryptocurrencies will not replace social networks.


And cryptocurrencies do not prohibit people from buying and selling others people’s data.


You didn't read the post correctly


Did you mean: you're holding the post wrong?


Maybe - never heard that vernacular




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