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How can I get my email newsletter to bypass spam filters?

 4:59 pm on Mar 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

My friend and I are friendly competitors in the same industry. Both of us require an email newsletter to keep our customers up to date. He's already well underway with his...I have yet to start mine.

He says that he uses an online service that "manages" his email list with auto-responders and auto-delete functions. The main feature I'm interested in is the service also scans his email blasts for red flags that would trigger spam guards. The end result is that all of our competitors emails automatically go into our spam folders, but his goes straight into my in-box. Sounds very cool, but he pays $40 a month for this service and the price goes up for each additional 5000 email addresses on the list.

Is there anything that will duplicate the result of this feature without having to resort to a pricey online service?



 11:04 am on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

You are only permitted to send your newsletter to people who have "opted in" and specifically requested it. If you send it to others then that is spam, and properly deleted.

So if you put "The XYZ Company Newsletter" in your subject line then it will be received by those who want it. Or of course those who don't want it can filter it out.

Remember - Most people realise that SPAM = SCAM.


 11:51 am on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Spam filters are getting increasingly sophisticated. Some will start blocking e-mails from a domain or ip after receiving a certain number of messages within a certain period, particularly if they look similar. Therefore an online service will probably have the most updated means to deal with these filters.

As far as bulk-mailing software is concerned, we use group mail pro to send shipment notices to our customers. So far there has been no problems provided that you do not use bulk-send mode, and send to only 1 recipient at a time. However, there is no guarrantee on what will happen once the no. of mailings go into hundreds or thousands. You may beed to look at much more expensive software that is used by porn sites.


 12:59 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

So if you put "The XYZ Company Newsletter" in your subject line then it will be received by those who want it.

No offense, but boy are you niave. If it were that easy, there wouldn't be a problem in the email marketing segment.

$40 a month is unusual. Most of the time the third parties charge per email. Anything over a penny an email and you are paying too much. A third party should provide minimum bounce and opt-out managment, reporting (bounced, opened, clicks and where clicked) and ISP whitelist contacts (which will go a long way to making sure your email ends up in the mailbox and not the junk mail or, even worse, not at all. Many are starting to offer filter checks as standard.

Are there programs to replace this? Not without alot of hands on involvement. Yes, there are programs that will send. Yes, you can find them with auto responders. Yes, you can find them with opt-out management. Yes, you can send your email through a free online spam checker (it changes too much to have a program on your desktop). But no program will provide you with white list status at the major ISPs. You either have to maintain that yourself or go througha third party. Which is where most of the hands on involvement comes in.


 1:28 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

>So if you put "The XYZ Company Newsletter" in your subject line then it will be received by those who want it.

I wish that were the case. You seem to believe the spam filter is the user at the desktop, deciding which mails to read and which to delete. The issues run much deeper, from keyword filtering and bayesian message analysis to IP blocks from oversealous spam lists.

As to the $40 per month, there are other services, like Vertical Response, that charge by the e-mail. Vertical Response recently added an analysis feature to tell you if your message is likey to set off filters.

Or you can handle the chore yourself with programs like the previously mentioned Group Mail or Mach 5 e-mailer.


 7:51 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

"You seem to believe the spam filter is the user at the desktop, deciding which mails to read and which to delete."

Well, yes. I have Mailwasher installed and have configured it to get rid of 99% of the scummail. If I do want something such as a newsletter that I have subscribed to then I put it in my FilterOK list so that it passes through.

It is now illegal in the EEC to send out spam, a criminal offence, and as far as I can see it has stopped the plague. Nearly all the scummail now comes from the USA.

SPAM = SCAM. No reputable firm ever sent out unsolicited bulk emails. No-one in their senses would ever respond to one (although I realise that many in fact stupidly do so, proving that there is one born every minute).


 1:20 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Phillip, I don't think anybody here is thinking of sending out spam. What was being referred to was probably opt-in mailing list. This list can run into thousands.

There are spam filters at the desktop level but there are also general filters installed by the e-mail account provider such as hotmail, yahoo, and aol. In fact, the general filters of free e-mail account providers are hardest to get through. Sometimes, bulk mail to these accounts may not even get into bulk-mail box, they are blocked completely.


 7:41 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thank you for the explanation Derek! But would it be seen as naive if I suggested that the best solution is to ditch Hotmail, Yahoo etc. and get an ISP which can deal with these things properly? I also have an opt-in newsletter (admittedly hundreds rather than thousands of subscribers) and have no problems. Hotmail and Yahoo are free, and in my view they are worth the same amount.


 12:18 pm on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Lol I agree with you on hotmail and yahoo


 2:54 pm on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

>But would it be seen as naive if I suggested that the best solution is to ditch Hotmail, Yahoo etc. and get an ISP which can deal with these things properly?

If you are sending out a newsletter, you are not in much of a position to demand that your recipients change e-mail accounts. And the difficulties aren't limited to "free" services - most large ISPs use some type of filtering.

There are lots of words, phrases, or combinations of things that might appear in a perfectly legitimate newsletter that can trigger spam filters and prevent your intended recipient from ever seeing the e-mail.


 3:27 pm on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)


I'd suggest running your newsletter against spamassassin prior to public launch.


 4:02 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

From my standpoint there really isn't too much you can do to prevent your newsletter from getting tossed into the junk mail file.

On a daily basis I get calls that are from net admin's w/users that want their newsletters but based on company policy dealing with spam can't get them. There are also users who are getting these newsletters sent to home addresses & they are getting blocked due to IP address from their ISP.

A major problem with many spam filters is that they are not smart. You can set your filters to delete all mail containing references to body parts, but if you have legitimate mail that references b*est cancer it will get blocked. But if you unblock that word you'll be buried in spam. The same is true of html in email.

Your best bet is to make sure that your IP is not shared with any of the more interesting blacklisted sites out there. Check your wording. There really aren't too many legitimate reasons to use swear words. Try to leave out the <! coding, most filters are set to detect & destroy. Do a bit of testing on your newsletter like others have mentioned in this thread to see how well it will make it through email filters.

I've noticed that more newsletter authors are just sending out reminders with a link to visit the latest newsletter on their site. This might be a viable option for you. While it does require action up your users to click on the link. You'll have a greater chance that your message will get past filters to your email recipients.

Hopefully you'll be getting more newsletters to your users.


 4:07 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hello, Leah, and welcome to WebmasterWorld :)


 4:22 pm on Mar 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the welcome! This is a great board. I'm so glad I found it.

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