We are developing a web application, and we would like to make it very easy and effective for our users to invite their friends, family and colleagues to view and interact with their content on the application.
Invite your friends by email
We are considering the standard form where the user inputs a series of comma-separated email addresses These addresses would receive an email from our service, containing customized links to the content, etc.
Our concern is that spammers (bots and/or humans - i.e. captcha isn't sufficient) may create marketing content on our website, and take advantage of the email invite feature to distribute unsolicited content. This could result in users reporting these emails as spam, potentially compromising our ability to reach out to users.
Possible solutions we've considered:
- Requiring users to enter their email address & password, then fetching their contacts, and delivering the emails from that user's account via SMTP.
- Emphasizing social media channels as a delivery method instead.
The problem with the first of these is that users may be less than eager to offer their email credentials.
We consistently find examples of websites which offer the same function outlined above: specify arbitrary email addresses, and we'll send them an email.
Is there a way to do this safely & effectively?
P.S. Moderating usage of the feature is not feasible (administrative approval of outgoing requests). There is no way to distinguish between legitimate & illegitimate usage.