Home M3AAWG Blog Risky Business – Abusive Industries: M3AAWG 53rd General Meeting

Last month at M3AAWG’s 53rd general meeting October 2021, members led a session on risky and potentially abusive industries. 

The Risky Business – Abusive Industries panel explores how and why senders allow certain industry types access to their platform while prohibiting others and how receivers view mail from these industries. Moderated by Matthew Grove (Mailchimp), Benjamin Billon (SPLIO) and John Peters (CM Group) provide a sender’s perspective while Lili Crowley (Yahoo!) presents the receiver’s point of view. 

Certain industries (Crypto-currency, Multilevel Marketing, Marijuana/CBD/Hemp) seem to be more prone to abusive sending practices and many senders restrict these industries from accessing their platforms in order to prevent abuse, reduce potential detrimental impacts on deliverability, and avoid additional regulatory requirements.

Some key factors the panelists discuss include: 

  • the vetting processes used by Email Service Providers
  • how senders and receivers determine which industries to prohibit or restrict
  • how often do organisations update their prohibited industry policy
  • whether transactional and bulk sending are considered differently

A fundamental consideration is risk assessment and determining the impact certain industries’ sending practices have on the email eco-system. For example, certain businesses prioritise list size and inorganic growth which degrades the quality of their list and disregards the mail recipient’s expectation. This creates a poor user experience, a mistrust of email as a means of communication, and contravenes the aim of both senders and receivers. 

Senders want to safeguard their IP and Domain reputations, mitigate abuse and provide a reliable service for their customers to use to send emails. Similarly, receivers manage incoming mail to protect their infrastructure and their users’ inboxes from malicious and unwanted mail. 

As such, it becomes necessary to restrict or prohibit certain industry types, have a customer vetting process, regularly review Terms Of Use and Acceptable Use Policy to adapt to emerging problematic industries (drop shippers, news aggregators) and anti-spam regulations. 


John Peters has been a member of M³AAWG since 2014 


The views expressed in DM3Z are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect M3AAWG policy.