domain struck by lightning

How To Get Your Domain Banned And Lose Your Income

In February 2013 I wrote a series of emails to keep a small list of subscribers up to date with a book I was writing (Step by Step Marketing).

At the time I was going through a High Performance Coaching certification training class in California (where I finally proved to myself that certification of any kind is a pointless and expensive exercise).

Whilst I was away I had constructed a series of 5 promotional emails to launch the book.

Each one written in advance of what it said I had done! (thus ensuring I stuck to my timetable).

What I didn’t know was that I’d set a time-bomb to go off nearly two years in advance.

Here’s a copy of the 2nd last email in the series:

I am back in the UK. The weather in Santa Clara was magnificent. 22+ degrees everyday. The downside was I was stuck inside a conference centre.

But I have my official High Performance Coach certification.

The book is finished. I am in the process of editing it, and I expect that to be done within the next few days, then it is off to the designer for a super fast turn-around for the PDF version.

In other words, everything is on track for the 30th March in time for a great Easter present for you.

My best,
Quentin Pain FIAB

PS. I learnt some great new coaching techniques during my stay and if you are interested in that sort of thing, I will be happy to share them. More on that some other time though.

Quentin Pain Coaching, North Brink, Wisbech, Cambs PE131LN, UNITED KINGDOM

To unsubscribe or change subscriber options visit:

There is something BADLY wrong with this email.

Can you spot it? (extremely unlikely)

Would you say it was spammy? (bear in mind that the people who received this had double-opted in and were expecting it).

Let’s go further than that. Would you say it was ‘Spamvertising‘? (click the link to help you spot the ‘error’ I had made)

In fact, I’d never heard that term until I received the following email out of the blue from the security team of my hosting service provider on the 11th October 2014 – 20 months after the email had been sent):


HostGator Security has received a Spamvertising ( ) report regarding a domain under your control. Advertising via SPAM is a violation of our Zero Tolerance Spam Policy as outlined in Section D of our Acceptable Use Policy, available at . We have attached a copy of the report to the bottom of this email. We require an explanation of this report within 48 hours or further action may be taken on this domain. LLC


Moving back to February 2013, everything went smoothly.

I finished the book on time. The orders came in as expected (I gave those early subscribers a free copy of the book to help spread the word) and everything was hunky-dory.

…until that email.

I apparently had 48 hours to tell them of my misdemeanour or have my website removed from the internet. Holy Cow!

I had been rebuilding my life and business since January 2013 when I’d been dumped by the board of the company I’d founded because I sold too much equity and lost control (this was my own stupid fault).

And I was about to have all that removed too, because of something I had no idea about (what had I done wrong?).

So I emailed back a frantic and desperate reply asking what I could do about it.

And they responded…

“tell us you won’t do it again and we’ll take no further action”. Haha!

But what had I done? (and here’s the point of this long post!):

NEVER include your website address in any autoresponder emails you send.

Yep, it’s that simple.

If you include your domain (as I did in the footer) and you have obeyed the spamming laws by having an option to ‘Unsubscribe’, then you are open to attack by anyone hitting the unsubscribe option and then reporting it as spam.

But here’s the thing. In my case it wasn’t an attack at all!

Why had this not happened at the time the email was sent 20 months earlier? Surely that would be when someone would hit the unsubscribe button?

Nope. I traced it down to a friend. A real friend. He had decided to go through all his unopened email in Microsoft Outlook and delete it in order to give himself a clean inbox.

During this process anything from an autoresponder he didn’t immediately recognise or want he hit the Spam button (to ensure his inbox would never get to the same state again).

And every now and again he did it accidentally (he had thousands of emails to clear out).

And one of those mistakes was my email.

And it very nearly cost me my new business.

The internet is a dangerous place if you don’t follow the rules.

The problem is there are too many things we don’t know we don’t know.

But at least I found one of them, and I hope it helps you in the future too.


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Quentin Pain

Quentin Pain started his first business, a courier company aged 23. He sold it 4 years later and used the profits to start a recording studio. A couple of albums later, he started two software companies, the last one being Accountz, which he grew from zero to 36,000 customers and retired from in January 2013. His current company is ProofMEDIA, a specialist digital consulting business. He's also a published author (including a Dummies title), and has won many awards including the IAB Small Business Mentor of the Year. Copywriting is his speciality and he runs 3 groups on Facebook under the Science of Copywriting brand, which combined has nearly 80,000 members. Quentin is also Chief Executive of the International Copywriters Association.