Last Month, we continued our series of articles to look at the perils of developing your own Web presence. We've been likening the Internet to a minefield, with potentially fatal missteps. Last month we talked about Search Engine Optimization (and potential excommunication).

In this issue, we continue with:

Internet Landmine #3: Oops! I'm a Spammer!

Q: I tried to promote my site by sending a bulk email to a bunch of email addresses I've collected over the years, and ever since, every email I try to send to people with a Roadrunner or AOL address is getting blocked!

Bulk email is one of the scariest areas to work in these days. It's so powerful if done right, and so dangerous if done wrong, we're absolutely amazed at how many businesses are attempting to do their own email marketing.

Few people know or understand the requirements of the Federal Can Spam Act.

Fewer still know what ISP and corporate blacklists are... much less understand how they work, how you get on them, and how to get off them. And virtually nobody knows how to get on white lists.

Only a handful of people have heard of Mail Abuse Prevention Systems, Trend Micro, SpamCop and SpamHaus, and so they are unaware of the power that those organizations have to prevent you from sending even one-at-a-time personal legitimate emails.

The people who don't know (or know ABOUT) any of that stuff are the same ones who will use Outlook to send out a bulk email and make the addresses of everyone on their list visible as carbon copies. Their idea of a graphically-compelling email is a blank one with a Word Document, a Publisher File or a PDF attached! Or they'll use an outdated bulk mail application that still combines text and HTML versions in the same mail thinking that that will automatically display the version that subscribers prefer.

And there are a dozen more mistakes that most people who do their own bulk email make. Some are just misguided, but others are like stepping on a land mine!

Solution? Partner with a company that understands and has the tools to do it right. Go it alone, and you risk stepping on Landmine #3.

So maybe we've succeeded in scaring you enough to see why this Web stuff may not be something you want to take on yourself. And that brings us to land mine #4... which we'll describe in our next email!

-Tom Snyder