Here is my day today: I sent out a group email to all 500+ of our members via my Compuserve account regarding our 2nd anniversary and other administrative things.
I was told - when AOL absorbed Compuserve and we were switched over to the AOL mail system a couple of years ago - that I could send as many emails as I wanted as long as I didn't have any individual "address groups" that had more than 20 names in each. So, I broke down my groups to under-20 names each, and now have to send to 30 email groups to cover all 500+ Blogcritics. So far so good.
Well, due to the relentless onslaught of spam, AOL/Compuserve have changed their rules AGAIN, and now sending emails to 30 address groups, with under 20 names per group, is against the rules, and they blocked my account as the 30th email dashed off into cyberspace via my cable modem.
I had an idea of what was up: being kicked offline just as your 30th group email goes out seemed a bit more than coincidental, especially in these paranoid times. So after trying to get back online a couple of times I called tech support - in India. I love those cheerful Indians! No, I mean I really do, and I find the accent charming, if sometimes hard to fully comprehend from 12,000 or so miles away.
But it wasn't a tech problem, it was a policy problem, and the Indian gentleman named "Washington" sent me back to America to the clandestine group of operatives called the "Community Action Team" - sounds like people you would call to haul away the dead raccoon clogging up the storm drain, but they are in fact the email police.
The email policewoman asks me if I was aware that I had just sent out "30 emails to over 500 individual addresses," and if so why? I explained my role as administrator for an organization (Blogcritics) and that I sent out group emails like this a couple of times a month and had been doing so for years without any problems. She said the rules had changed. I said fine - spam sucks carrion dong and I'm all for efforts to stamp it out with extreme prejudice - but that didn't apply to me as I am a responsible administrative type who is just doing his communicative duty for the home team.