Late last week, we received a report from a hosting customer that they received spam advertising Websites.ca. This was unusual, as most spam we see has its source obfuscated in some way - and it's even less common to see spam from an organization apparently based in Canada AND using a .CA domain name. So this definitely got our attention.
While it's impossible to say with 100% certainty that the message was spam, there were strong indications. The most damning detail is the fact the message was sent to an EMail address that is only used to receive submissions from a prescription refill form on the website of a small pharmacy - which isn't publicly listed anywhere except the HTML code for the form. So either Websites.ca harvested the EMail address themselves, or they bought a list of addresses (which are commonly marketed and sold for spamming purposes) which included that address - either of which would have made it impossible for them to obtain proper opt-in consent, as is required of them by the CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation).
Despite the strong evidence against them, we decided to give the owners of Websites.ca the benefit of the doubt - mainly because they're based in Canada. So we sent a response to the EMail, copied to the administrative contact address for websites.ca (effectively the owner of the domain name), and requested details on when & how they had received consent to send commercial advertisements to that EMail address - or at least details of any preexisting relationship that would qualify as "implied consent" (an exception/bare-minimum requirement of Canada's Anti-Spam laws).
But despite that message being sent nearly 5 days ago (nearly 3 business days), there has been no response - so at this point, we can only assume that they do not intend to respond & conclude that our original suspicions were correct. That being the case, we have reported the message to their hosting provides (which appears to be Amazon's "cloud" hosting) & and have filed a complaint with the CRTC that the message appears to have been sent in violation of the CASL.
If we ever receive a response from Websites.ca (or any update on the CASL complaint), we will update this post with the details. Have you or anyone you know of also received spam from Websites.ca - or other organizations based in Canada? Please let us know in the comments.
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