Protecting Your Customers from Spam - Have an AUP
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Another big step you can take to help prevent your web hosting business from becoming a victim of spammers is to have an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). You could include a stiff penalty for spamming, although it may be questionable whether that will bother a truly hard-core spammer. Still, such a policy will help you keep your customers honest.
If you don't yet have an AUP, Spamhaus has a resource that will let you generate one automatically (http://www.spamhaus.org/isp/create_aup.lasso). It also has a number of examples of good AUPs on its web site (http://www.spamhaus.org/aups.html). With these tools, you should be well on your way to writing a good policy
Not only do you need to have a good AUP; you need to make sure your customers are aware of it. For example, Shaefer notes that iPost confirms its "solicited mail only" policy verbally with every customer before completing a service agreement. If you choose to include any special clauses directed at preventing specific abuses, you might want to verbally confirm those as well. For example, one company's AUP bans the use of its systems for "drop boxes" in spam sent somewhere else.
Finally, you need to enforce your AUP. That means you need to be proactive. "This does not mean instantly terminating a customers because of a complaint, because forgery is so common in spam that many complaints are misdirected," according to Shaefer. "However, it does mean evaluating the accuracy of every complaint, investigating those that appear legitimate, and taking action if a pattern of abuse emerges."
Dealing with spam is not an easy task. It isn't going to go away overnight. But by taking these steps, you can reduce the problem for you and your customers to something more manageable.
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