B&Q: Sending Product Recall Notices to Large Numbers of Spamtraps

B&Q, a large U.K.-based home improvement retailer, is sending product recall notices to a large number of email addresses that were closed years ago, some as long as a decade ago. I have seen occasional B&Q spams to one-off spamtrap email addresses before, but nothing like this. The ESP is Responsys.

Despite the significant number of spamtrap hits, I do not in this case suspect B&Q of purchasing a list. Product recall notices are not advertisements: companies send them out because it is the right thing to do, and often to avoid legal liability should they fail to notify consumers of problems with products that they purchased from the company. For that reason, companies have been known to blast these notices to every email address in their database, including those that have unsubscribed from further communications and, in some cases, even including email addresses that had been retired after repeated undeliverable emails.

However, bulk email does not have to contain an advertisement to be spam. If it is bulk and is sent to email addresses that did not request it, it is spam regardless of content. It is sensible to listen to your attorneys when legal issues come up, but they are not experts on all issues. It is extremely foolish to allow legal concerns to overrule the deliverability team on decisions about when and to whom bulk email can legitimately be sent. To risk the damage that a major blacklisting (Spamhaus, SURBL, or Spamcop) or poor rating in a major deliverability service (Return Path) can do to important business assets like your IPs and domains simply to check off a checkbox on a due diligence form is (at least in my opinion) nuts.

I don’t see any sign of a listing in the Spamhaus SBL or other major blacklist yet, but the quantities of spamtrap hits that I saw would certainly justify one. B&Q’s deliverability team and Responsys need to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting with whoever made the decision to send this mailing NOW, before further damage is done to the B&Q brand.

Sending IP:

Spam Sample:

Actual Headers:

Received: from omp.info.diy.com (omp.info.diy.com [])
        by <xxx> (Postfix) with ESMTP id <xxx>
        for <xxx>; Mon, 14 May 2012 17:xx:xx <xxx>
DKIM-Signature: <xxx>
DomainKey-Signature: <xxx>
Received: by omp.info.diy.com (PowerMTA(TM) v3.5r17) id <xxx> 
        for <xxx>; Mon, 14 May 2012 07:xx:xx <xxx> 
        (envelope-from <<xxx>@<xxx>.rsys2.com>)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="<xxx>"
Date: Mon, 14 May 2012 07:xx:xx <xxx>
From: "B&Q" <email@info.diy.com>
Reply-To: "B&Q" <customerservice@info.diy.com>
Subject: Important product recall
List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:unsubscribe-bqplace.<xxx>@interactexpress.net>, <https://info.diy.com/pub/optout?<xxx>>
X-<xxx>: <xxx>
X-<xxx>: <xxx>
X-cid: bqplace.<xxx>
To: <xxx>
Message-ID: <<xxx>@omp.info.diy.com>

Readable Email:

From: B&Q <email@info.diy.com>
To: <spamtrap>
Subject: Important product recall
Reply-To: B&Q <customerservice@info.diy.com>

Important product recalls

Verve 42cm Heated Propagator and Verve 52cm Heated Propagator



Products purchased at diy.com under £250 incur a delivery charge. Goods pictured are for illustrative purposes only.

For all products featured availability will vary per store.

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