The CAN-SPAM Act and did DotNetNuke Hosting Violate it? You be the judge

SPAM is an interesting topic.  There are several different definitions of SPAM and depending on who you talk to, you’ll get any of a number of explanations of what SPAM is or is not.

At Applied Innovations, our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) defines SPAM very clearly and that it’s not tolerated here at Applied Innovations:

While differences of opinion may exist on what type of E-mail communication constitutes unsolicited bulk E-mail, or SPAM, Appliedi defines unsolicited commercial e-mail as e-mail that has not been requested by the recipient, is not compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act, or that, even if requested, or compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act, causes other entities to block our IP Addresses. You may not use the Service to host a site that is advertised in SPAM (a spamvertized site), even if you yourself are not engaged in spamming. If Appliedi determines that you or an End User are spamming, Appliedi will suspend or terminate your account, at our discretion.


Unfortunately, not every hosting provider has the same definition of SPAM or is as strictly opposed to SPAM (or there would be no SPAM).  Recently, it was pointed out to me that some of my clients received an unsolicited commercial email (UCE) from a competitor to Applied Innovations and one of those emails is below:


From: Ricardo Serenil [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 4:36 PM
Subject: PowerDNN Solutions

Hello friends at XXXXXXXX,
Excuse me for being a bit forward, but I saw your site, XXXXXXXXX hosted with Applied Innovations, and I have to ask, are you happy with your current hosting provider? PowerDNN is the world leader in DotNetNuke Hosting and completely understands your platform. This means that every plan we offer includes complete DotNetNuke, database, and server support—24/7/365—by trained experts at no additional charge. We will even help you migrate. DotNetNuke is what we do.
I don’t want to take too much of your time, but I know there is a better place for your site and it’s with PowerDNN. If you are interested at all or just want more details, please feel free to give me a call or reply to this email.
I look forward to assisting you with your business.
Always glad to help,
P.S. – I almost forgot to mention, we have a special promotion for new customers, one year for hosting for $61 dollars! It’s our DotNetNuke 6.1.for $61 promotion. Feel free to check it out.

Ricardo Serenil
Solutions Consultant
Office: 1-877-743-8366 x701113
Cell: 402-216-2182

Some may say, I see no wrong in this: “it’s just business” and others will say this is SPAM, some will say “Hey that violates the CAN-SPAM Act”.  In business it’s really up to each person to decide for themselves on how they’ll conduct business and what tactics they’ll employ to grow their business. 

So I’ll let you decide for yourself if this is SPAM, if the CAN-SPAM Act was violated or if any wrong doing happened. 

The Golden Rule of Life and Business

As for myself, I believe in the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  When you’re in such a small industry as hosting, it’s not difficult to run into the same people time and time again and get to know your competitors. So when I first saw the emails being forwarded to me by my customers from a company who’s top level executives I got to know personally, to say I was upset or disappointed would be an understatement.

To my customers that received the above email, I’d like to apologize that you received this email and that your day was interrupted in any way.  I can assure you this is not the type of email we’d condone sending and certainly not how we’d normally compete for business.

You see, Applied Innovations is working to build relationships in the DotNetNuke community and although we’re just getting started, I believe we’re doing quite well:

  1. We’ve become a platinum sponsor of the open-source project.
  2. We’ve become an official DotNetNuke partner.
  3. We’ve integrated DotNetNuke web based installers into our control panels
  4. We’ve attended, spoken at and sponsored numerous DotNetNuke usergroups
  5. We sponsored the DNNworld event in Orlando last year
  6. We built and deployed an elastic shared hosting infrastructure specifically for DotNetNuke.
  7. We’ve engineered application specific Cloud Servers tuned specifically for DotNetNuke
  8. and I’ve personally made a number of trips to California to meet with the folks at DotNetNuke (great folks btw) and get to understand their business, what drives their business and their values so that I can align my own company’s direction with that of DotNetNuke Corp.

We’re strongly committed to becoming the premiere host in this area and I’ll be first to admit we’ve got a ways to go with DotNetNuke but let’s keep it in perspective, we bring a lot to the table:

  1. A 13+ Year track record of offering hosting on the Windows Platform supporting a plethora of ASP.NET, PHP and ASP based applications including DotNetNuke.
  2. 35,000 domains hosted on 2500 server instances for 10,000 customers.
  3. We were among the first 3 hosts worldwide to offer Windows 2008 Hosting
  4. We were among the first 2 hosts in the world selected by Microsoft to deploy Hyper-V Cloud Servers
  5. We were the first host to launch a True DNN specific elastic cloud platform and wait until you see what we’re working on for this year! It’ll blow your socks off!
  6. and let’s not forget Applied Innovations is one of Microsoft’s closest hosting partners, has been the go-to partner for multiple offerings including WebsiteSpark, WebMatrix and even Windows 8.
  7. I’ve been invited to speak at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner conference on multiple occasions
  8. and I’m one of only 20 hosting executives in the world to sit on the Microsoft Service Provider Partner Advisory Committee.

So Although we’re not a powerhouse in the DNN community we are a powerhouse in Windows hosting and we’re able to go toe-to-toe with any host and have a great deal to offer the DotNetNuke community that NO OTHER host can match!

But What About The Offer?

Now, I know what you’re thinking…  “Jess, are you really going to let some guy email even just a handful of your DNN clients and call your company out in that manner?”

Well, PowerDNN is offering you a full year of DNN hosting for just $61/year and $61 for a year of hosting is a pretty decent deal but perhaps you’re offended by the tactics employed and just maybe a little upset like I am.  We generally don’t have to compete on price because we’re able to differentiate our service and service offerings but in light of the Golden Rule and seeing how the line in the sand has been drawn, I’m taking it upon myself to offer a PowerDNN Refugee Program. 

If you’re currently hosted with PowerDNN and not happy or if your day was interrupted with an email similar to the one above, I will personally pay for a full year of shared hosting for your DotNetNuke site here at Applied Innovations (you can take that $61 you’re saving and go have a steak dinner on me).  Better yet, if your site is built on the commercial platform, I’ll give you a full year of professional cloud server hosting (normally $1200/year) for your DotNetNuke site if you’re willing to give us a little link love and/or let us feature your company in a case study.

Just email sales @ and mention this blog post.

If you’re an avid DNN usergroup, blogger or active community member, email me and I’ll show you what I can really do for you!

My apologies if you find this posting to be harsh.  But you see, I’m very passionate about my business and the business of my customers and I believe it’s best to compete respectfully and speak well of your competitors at all times. So I’m happy to simply close this blog post with “I believe if you’re hosted with PowerDNN today, they’re a reasonable host and able to provide you a respectable level of service.  However, if for any reason you’re not happy there or are experiencing any problems whatsoever that you’re not able to overcome, I’d invite you to speak to my team or myself and we’d all be happy to discuss alternative options.”  Oh and don’t worry we don’t send SPAM email messages.

And above all else remember, whether it’s in business or in life, do unto others as you would have them do unto you… 

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