You can use autoresponders in several different ways. But, if you set up autoresponders carelessly, sooner or later, you will be in trouble.
Recently, my domain name has been listed on a blacklist (a list of spammers). I investigated why my domain had got listed. As part of the investigation, I asked the list owner why he had added my domain (I submitted the question via a web form at http://www.dnsbl.au.sorbs.net/cgi-bin/mail at 05:53 UTC on Feb 19, 2004), but he hasn't replied yet. So, this may not be 100 percent accurate. But I can say that the investigation shows that a spammer sent an e-mail message to one of my autoresponders using the list owner's e-mail address as the from address. That autoresponder was being used for the newsletter subscription process. The list owner received a newsletter he hadn't subscribed to.
If you want to stay out the trouble, you have to be cautious when you are setting up autoresponders. As you can see, blindly replying to every message you receive is quite risky. You'll never know whose e-mail address is being used as the from address.
One way to avoid the trouble is to reply only to e-mail messages with specific subjects. For example, if you are setting up an autoresponder for your newsletter subscription, ask potential subscribers to send e-mail with "subscribe" in the subject box. I was asking for a blank e-mail because that makes the process simpler. If you do what I did, you will be in the same trouble some day.
Instead of using autoresponders, try to use web forms. You can easily switch most of processes from autoresponders to web forms. You might not get blacklisted, but if you promote your autoresponder e-mail address in order to get subscribers, you'll receive more than a hundred times as many spam messages as new subscribers.
© June, 2004