Trail Blazer Acceptable Use Policy

Acceptable Use Policy

We’re in this thing together. The actions individual Clients take can have a big impact on our system as a whole. That’s why all Trail Blazer Clients must follow this Acceptable Use Policy in their use of the Trail Blazer Email System. If you violate this policy, we may suspend or terminate your account. We may also suspend or terminate accounts according to our Standard Terms of Use where we see behavior, content, or other factors that pose a threat to our system. If a term is capitalized in this Acceptable Use Policy but isn’t defined, it has the meaning given to it in our Standard Terms of Use.

Prohibited Content

Please don’t use Trail Blazer to send anything offensive, to promote anything illegal, or to harass anyone. You may not send:

  • Campaigns offering to sell illegal goods or services
  • Emails that violate CAN-SPAM Laws
  • Pornography/sexually explicit content

We would not expect any of our Clients to be in these industries, but we want to make sure that it is very clear. Some industries have higher-than-average abuse complaints, which can jeopardize the deliverability of our entire system. Nothing personal, but in order to maintain the highest delivery rates possible for all our Clients, we can’t allow organizations that offer these types of services, products, or content:

  • Escort services, mail-order bride/spouse finders, international marriage brokers, and other similar sites and services
  • Hookup, swinger, or sexual encounter sites or 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

Also, we cannot allow businesses involved in any aspect of the sale, transaction, exchange, storage, marketing or production of cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, and any digital assets related to an Initial Coin Offering, to use Trail Blazer to facilitate or support any of those activities.

Sending Subject to Additional Scrutiny

We’ve also found that certain types of content or new imported contacts may cause higher-than-average abuse rates. In general, hard bounce rates should be under 5%, and spam complaint rates should be less than 0.1%. For that reason, we may closely review, suspend, throttle, or disable accounts that exceed these rates.

Prohibited Actions

We work hard to maintain the positive reputation of our system, but we count on our Members to pitch in too. You may not:

  • Send Spam. Spam can be in the form of bulk emails or one to one commercial emails.
    • You must be able to point to an opt-in form or show other evidence of consent for bulk email.
  • Put into your Campaigns or account any material that wasn’t created by you, provided for you to use, or that would violate anyone’s rights. That includes text, photos, graphics, and other content.
  • Use any misleading or incorrect names, addresses, email addresses, subject lines, or other information in the Service or in any Campaigns created, managed or sent using our Service.
  • Share your password.
  • Decipher, decompile, disassemble, or reverse engineer any of the Software.
  • Use any of the Software to create a competing product.
  • Use an outside unsubscribe process when sending bulk content to a list hosted in Trail Blazer.
  • Set up multiple accounts for any person or entity in order to send similar content.
  • Import or incorporate any of this information into any lists, emails or uploads to our servers: Social Security numbers, passwords, security credentials, or sensitive personal information.
  • Send Campaigns that will be delivered to recipients as text, SMS, or MMS messages unless using a feature designed for that purpose.
  • Upload or send to purchased, rented, third-party, co-reg, publicly available data, or partner lists of any kind.
  • Send or forward personal mail.
  • Host images on our servers for any purpose other than for your use of the Service.
  • Host Content on our servers for any purpose other than for your use of the Service.
  • Except as permitted under our Standard Terms of Use, take any action intended to avoid our billing thresholds.

Best Practices and Importance of Audience Permission

As a contact management platform with customers all over the world, we feel it’s our responsibility to be extra vigilant about preventing abuse of our services to protect both our customers and their contacts. It’s also in our best interest to keep the system clean, because our reputation and deliverability depend on it. For that reason we provide, and may update from time to time, articles outlining best practices in our knowledge base. For example, we offer guidelines about the importance of audience permission and best practices. 

Best Practices

Best practices include, but are not limited to, keeping the email list fresh, receiving audience permission, maintaining acceptable open rates on the messages sent, sending engaging content, and a regular message publishing schedule that will not cause open fatigue. List and email campaigns with an open rate a rate of 15% or greater is acceptable. Trail Blazer provides tools for remediation including only sending to clients that have opened recent emails. Anything under 15% open rate is indicative of a problematic list that requires remediation, either by the client or by Trail Blazer. Explicit permission based lists that send engaging content have open rates well over 15% on single email campaigns and over the course of many emails will find very few people who don’t open 1 out of every 10 emails sent.

The Importance of Permission

The first step to building a successful email audience is to get permission from contacts who want to receive your email. Permission is not only common courtesy, it's required a best practice - and lack of permission can lead to Trail Blazer restricting the emails you can send.

In this article, you'll learn about the importance of permission and what you can do to secure it.

Consequences Without Permission

People who haven't given permission to email them are more likely to report your email campaigns as spam. They are way less likely to engage with your email campaigns, taking action, or making donations. It's in your organizations best interest to secure express permission.

Spam reports can lead to aggressive spam filtering or blacklisting, which makes it impossible for some subscribers to receive any of your campaigns. This can also damage Trail Blazer's reputation as a whole and negatively affect delivery for all our users.

How We Define Permission

Although permission can take different forms, it's something very specific when it comes to Trail Blazer’s Email System. Permission is express, verifiable consent to receive email communication.

Express means that when you asked for permission, your question wasn't tied in with another agreement. For example, a separate checkbox for "I would like to receive email from XYZ Organization" is express and clear.

Because permission should also be verifiable, we recommend getting written or otherwise archived permission from each contact. When you use Trail Blazer’s signup forms with opt in message turned on, we track and record the date and time of submission, so you have verified permission. If you collected emails via a petition or other events make sure it is clear they are signing up for email list.

Spam Reports

When someone reports an email as spam, their inbox notifies their internet service provider (ISP) that the message in question looks suspicious. The ISP then tracks how many people on their network report emails from the sending domain as spam.

Unfortunately, a majority of email users report that they mark emails as spam that they know aren't spam. Some of these spam reports may actually be attempts to unsubscribe, so it's important that all of your email campaigns include an unsubscribe link your subscribers can easily find. We include one by default.

Studies also show 43 percent of email users will report spam if they don't recognize the sender's From name or From email address. That means your recipients are also more likely to mark your emails as spam if they're not familiar with your organization. Make sure these labels are clearly tied to your brand, and send email campaigns regularly so subscribers don't forget who you are.

Spam Filters

Spam complaints are just one way you can get blacklisted by an ISP. Several large email systems or providers use spam filters that may detect keywords in the content or sloppy code, and flag your email campaigns. There are no comprehensive guidelines on what content to avoid, and those standards change all the time, but in general we recommend you design your email campaigns to be clean, clear, and avoid cliche.

In a worst-case scenario, a firewall could be programmed to scan any campaign content for URLs that have been reported as spam or blacklisted, and block the email that contains them. That means that if another person or business mentions one of your blacklisted domains in their totally separate email, the ISP could block that user's emails too.

Increasingly, ISPs and anti-spam services share their records with each other. If you get reported to one, you could be blocked from others as well.

Blacklists

Blacklisting can occur if enough people mark your email campaigns as spam. When that happens, any message you send to anyone on their network will be blocked. ISPs have different levels for blacklisting, but they tend to be very low. A few spam reports could get you blocked. Once you're on a blacklist, it's very difficult to get yourself removed.

A few complaints can derail your email marketing for a long time, so it's critical to ensure your email marketing is permission-based and that your permission doesn't go stale.

I suggest reading mailchimp’s How Blacklists Work

I recommend reading this article from mailchimp’s When Email Addresses Go Stale

What You Can Do

To ensure a healthy list, always secure permission before you send someone an email campaign. Never assume you have permission, and when in doubt, get confirmation.

Make sure your contact collection methods are compliant with our Terms of Use and never send unsolicited marketing campaigns. We strongly recommend you use our signup forms so you have a record of each person's signup.

Remember that any list of contacts obtained from a third-party sources, no matter how reputable, violates our Terms and puts you at risk. Plus, the numbers show that a purchased audience is a useless audience, so permission is also important to get the most from the effort you put into the email messages you send.



You may only use Trail Blazer in accordance with these best practices, and we may suspend or terminate your mass emailing ability if you violate them.

Thanks for taking the time to read our Acceptable Use Policy.

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