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Are you writing articles? Watch out!

My articles ordeal.

Written by Aaron Colman
info@ibasics.biz
http://www.ibasics.biz

I had read all of the articles and special reports.
Content was the way to go. Articles are not only popular,
but they stay around for years. Constantly drawing a
stream of qualified visitors to your site.

I had even tried them a few times, and they had worked
pretty well. Until that one time...

I had decided to use Yahoo groups to publish my article.
There are several excellent article announce groups. Each
person on the group has requested to receive articles via
email (or on the web). They want the articles and they
usually want them on a specific topic or set of topics.
So I wrote an article. It was about following business
trends. Perhaps you've even read it. It's out there, on
the major article bank sites and was posted on several
groups.

So I used Yahoo groups to send them out. I've had a email
account there for some time, as well as having used other
parts of their services. I even sent it out to the groups
from my free yahoo email account. And that's when the
trouble began...

Within 2 hours I had already received a half-dozen
warnings accusing me of the dirty 4 lettered S word.
I tried to explain to these people why they were getting
my article and how they could stop (if they wanted) but it
didn't help. Most of the time I wasn't even dealing with
people, just a cheap set of automated filtering tools
designed to do nothing more than permanently censor certain
words. Many of these systems automatically report suspects
to their ISP without worrying about false positives.

The article wasn't even an advertisement. It didn't even
look like spam if they had bothered to open it up. It was
a small lesson in following business trends and
is even available here.
Anyway...

On Monday I found my Yahoo account had been entirely
deactivated. It remains that way to this day. I've sent
multiple emails to customer service, to no avail. They
simply ignore them, never bothering to even let me know
they got my message. I find it ironic how such a system
allows for blatant misuse. You could, literally, get
anyone's account pulled with just an accusation. A very
knee-jerk reaction.

Never-the-less. Complaining about it isn't going to help.
Instead, I've put together some tools and techniques to
help you avoid this same fate.

Step 1 - Check your messages first.

Some words attract more attention that others. Most
of these are commerce related. Take a trip to:
http://wordcheck.ibasics.biz

And use the word checker. While it's more strict than
most filters, it can be a real eye-opener. Don't change
your entire article, just try to rephrase what you can.
Focus especially on the first 10%, last 10% and the subject
of your message. Never use a spam word in your subject line.
Word checking is crucial, as almost all filtering programs
use rule-based systems that assign points to each rule.
If you get too high of a point value then you're trashed.
Each admin can set their own default point threshold, so
you need to make sure your messages have the lowest score
possible.

This utility will also help you cut down on a lot of
duplicate words. In one article I had used the word
"business" more than 10 times. Only 2 of them were
actually needed.

A thesaurus can be very useful here. Take a trip to:
http://www.dictionary.com
Use it to find synonyms for those tricky words.

After running your messages thru a word checker run
them thru an address that is actually being filtered.
You can test for this by downloading, and sending
yourself a copy of:
http://wordcheck.ibasics.biz/wordlist.txt

Example: I have multiple accounts. I can send
from one account to another that I know is filtered.
If the message gets thru, then I know it's likely
to pass thru others as well. As a sideline, this also
helps to check that the formatting is correct. Sometimes
line wraps will get distorted... sending it to
yourself first can fix this beforehand.

Sitesell also has a utility that's become quite
popular. Send your test mails to:
mailto:sales-spamcheck@sitesell.net
Be careful, however, that you put the word TEST
as the first word in the subject -- and make sure
it is capitalized. Otherwise, the system will delete
it. After "TEST" put the actual subject to test it
as well.

Step 2 - Research the group.

Once your messages have been tested, it's time to
start researching the group. Obviously you'd never
want to send an article to a group that doesn't want
it. Hopefully you'd never get thru moderation, but
if you did... you'd probably get nailed for it.
An easy way to do this is to look at those that have been approved in the past and compare them with
your own.

Once you know the group will approve of your article,
take a look at the messages list before sending anything.
How many posts have been sent in the last month? If it's
a dead list then there's a good possibility that people
on the list will have forgotten about joining. This means
that they've probably already removed the list from their
whitelist and might even consider your message an
unwanted intrusion.

Once you know that a group is active and relevant, it's
time to progress on to step 3.

Step 3 - Test it.

Send a test message to the group. Make this as spam-free
as possible. Write a test article if you have to. I suggest
using a service like hotmail or yahoo, as losing that won't
set you back very far.

Watch the groups you've sent it to in order to find out how
quick moderation is. If it takes a week to get posted,
ask yourself whether the time lag is worth it. You wouldn't
want to write an article about a current event if it's not
going to be current by the time it gets out. This'll also
help you know if your article is truly relevant. If it
never gets posted then you know there's probably a
reason... so you can eliminate it from your send list.

Also test to see if you're accused of sending junk. Find
out where these people have subscribed and let the group
owner/moderator know. Chances are, if the group is active
enough, others are having this problem too. Ask around...
one bad subscriber can ruin the whole darn bunch.

Step 4 - The rest of the story

Once you've tested it then add another email address to
your Yahoo account. Make this address less vulnerable by
using an ISP or host that's ran by intelligent people with
a track-record of listening to their customers. That'll
prevent you from having your account locked or removed
because of false accusations.

Conclusion:

I really hope this helps someone out there avoid some
of the pitfalls of posting your articles on email-based
groups.

It's very frustrating to know that you've done nothing
wrong but are getting treated like a criminal just
because of other people's mistakes.

Best of luck to you!
-------------------------------------------------
Aaron Colman helps you create results on the net,
and specializes in web design and custom script work.
My eCourse - Learn Mastering Internet Lead Generation
at http://www.ibasics.biz/leads
-----------------------------------------------------------

This article is available for re-print under the
following conditions:

* You must leave the resource box at the bottom of the
article unedited.

* Minor editing of the article is permitted for the
purpose altering the line length or reformatting it for
a different media. No other editing is allowed, do not
change the context or the links within the article.

* You may not use this article in UCE (spam). Anyone
reading this article must be doing so voluntarily.

* It'd be nice, altho it's not required, if you'd let
me know when you use my articles. Let me know if you'd
like to be put on my articles announce list.

-----------------------------------------------------------

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Last changed on February 24 2009 15:10:23.
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