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  1. #1
    SitePoint Co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's Avatar
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    Stop Spam Filters Trashing Your Newsletter!

    These comments are in regards to the SitePoint.com article 'Stop Spam Filters Trashing Your Newsletter!'.

    It'd be great if this article included a link to SpamAssassin's and Outlooks list of filters, both which are publicly posted on the Internet. Someone should develop an application that gives newsletters a "spam weight" based on the settings of major filtering software, and suggestions on ways to reduce it.
    Matt Mickiewicz - Co-Founder
    SitePoint.com - Empowering Web Developers Since 1997
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Member NoXcuz's Avatar
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    Too bad that SpamAssassin tags Sitepoint's newsletter as spam, unless you put it on your whitelist...

    //NoXcuz
    For those about to rock - we salute you

  3. #3
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    The problem with things like Cloudmark is it's just too easy to tag something as spam.

    By default it creates a Spam folder and lots of people get in the habit of just reporting anything that ends up in that folder.

    The real problem occurs when legitimate mail (like the Tribune) gets reported a couple of times (presumably by people who can't be bothered unsubscribing) and starts getting moved automatically to the SPAM folder, where it gets reported again and again and the spiral continues.

    It's a good system in theory...
    Alex Walker
    SitePoint Developer
    SitePoint - Learnable

  4. #4
    SitePoint Member
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    Matt,

    That's a good point. I had decided not to include the SpamAssassin list because it depends a good deal on individual isp customizations. However, for those who are interested, here's a link to some of an overview of the way that the point system works (interesting, but lengthy, stuff): http://spamassassin.taint.org/tests.html

    Also here's a link to Microsoft's "Junk Email Readme" http://office.microsoft.com/Assistan...ewfilters.aspx

    They should both be helpful for newsletter publishers.

    A program that would assess newsletters would be fantastic--of course, people who wanted to send Spam could just use it themselves (which would mean the Spam programs would need to become stricter...). Unfortunately, it seems like, at this point, opt-in emailers are going to have trouble until someone invents something a little more fool-proof.

    Something else that email newsletter publishers really need to consider that I didn't mention in the article is that the ads they run can send their newsletters to the junk mail file. So, if you're publishing a newsletter that includes ads, you may want to look those over with extra care (as their "click me" copy may be especially rich in all the wrong language).

    It'll be interesting to see how Spam filters develop and how opt-in email grows as a result.

    Thanks again for the comments!

    Jessica

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast numeropi's Avatar
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    Don't despair, there is a terrific project going on at nntp://news.grc.com

    If it becomes as good as it looks, I would bet most spam filtering would be done in a content-based fashion, instead of rules-based as it is done now.
    No más enlaces rotos en el correo: EnlaceBreve.com
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Jessica:

    What about sales letters or reports that are provided in response to a users' request? I've found many of these to be blocked, even though the visitor requested the materials. My literature fulfillment is automated, one user requested a report 5 times before they gave up -- needless to say, they were very upset by the time I realized there was a problem.

    Many times these materials will provide a PDF special report, followed by a offer for the product. How does a site owner write a "limited time offer" without saying those words in particular?

    In several cases my paid subscription newsletter has been blocked because I used, "reply for a free report on" which seems to trigger SPAM filters. These individuals are paying over $79 per month to recieve a newsletter that I can't even provide them special offers. (I've had this newsletter blocked several times for "limited time" offers or offers that "expire")

    What are SPAM filter companies doing to help get welcome mail through while block unwelcome mail? I have a very strick policy about who get's mail, keep subscription requestion on file, and never share my lists with anyone.

    It would be great to block the 50 or so SPAM messages I get each day -- but as a publisher I'm losing money when a SPAM filter blocks my messages without letting me know or because of what I say.

    Sincerely,

    Justin Hitt
    Strategic Relations Consultant, Author & Speaker
    http://www.justinhitt.com/

  7. #7
    SitePoint Member
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    Hi Justin,

    Something I do in most of my email is instead of using the word free I use complimentary. But really, using synonyms isn't much of a solution to the larger problem. Spam filters are still relatively new, and the technology has quite a ways to go.

    Something that many publishers do is alert their readers to the possibility that a filter may prevent them from receiving a message. With many of the filters, you can "white list" someone, or in Outlook you'd use the "except if" section of the rules. You might encourage people to do this, especially those subscribing to your newsletter.

    Also, you could offer the pdf straight from your website--get their email address and contact info, but then send them to a page that offers the download. Of course, this doesn't guarantee you have a working email address for them, but that's about impossible to know anyway as people often set up temporary addresses for themselves.

    'Tis a time when publishers just have to be extra creative, I think, and a little creativity's never hurt an industry.

    Good luck!

    Jessica


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