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Spam Causing Legitimate Email Problems
Losing many customers due to overzealous spam blockers.

 7:22 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hello Fellow Webmasters,

I've been having a very difficult time with email of late and my server claims there is nothing they can do. Our outbound email for several business are being filtered by Prodigy (bounced back), hotmail and gmail (sent to the spam bin directly) and several lesser companies. This is causing CHAOS and the loss of a huge portion of business as rapid responses are important.

We never send bulk email or unsolicted email of any type. All email are repsonses to cutomer inqueries.

Have any of you had this problem? How did you solve it? What is it about the email that is triggering the filters?

Our DNS and RDNS are set properly as far as I can tell.

Any advice would be much appreciated.




 5:40 pm on May 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm wondering if there is a better forum for email issues?

Maybe one of the moderators could motion to create an email/spam issues forum?


 7:12 pm on May 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Have you checked to see if your server's IP address is listed in any of the RBL's?



 8:11 pm on May 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the info, John. I've cheked and botht he host as well as the site IPs are clear.


 12:54 pm on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

>Maybe one of the moderators could motion to create an email/spam issues forum?

It is a good suggestion but has been vetoed before. So email questions end up wherever the individual thinks they might fit best.


 1:58 pm on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Could you move your customer contact to an online system?

That's what I've done due to exactly these reasons.

Search for "PMOS Help Desk" if you want a free open source solution that works very well.

If you do take this route, specify that your customers must make a note of their ticket ID so they can easily see follow ups online. The system can send out emails when you reply, but again many of them get caught in filters.


 2:54 pm on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Spam filters se a variety of techniques and look for a veriety of characteristics to find spam, but if emails from certain domains are being blocked then it is most probable that either your host, or the ISP providing their bandwidth has blacklisted these domains by themselves or as part of a bigger scheme.


 5:36 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

i had these problems on my server which has about 200 odd clients.

On detailed examination of logs we found that some sites used old formmail.pl and formmail.php or similar email scripts which were not designed to stop misuse.

Just see if thats a problem with you too.


 5:49 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Have you set SPF [spf.pobox.com] records? They make a big difference these days in getting email actually delivered.


 5:50 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

My heart sinks when I get an order or enquiry with a hotmail address.
I have an aol a/c so I can get through to them.

Hotmail seems to almost randomly dump emails into the junk mail folders, if people do not check there junk mail box then you are goosed!

The problem is terrible on ebay, a real nightmare. Hotmail mouthbreathers turning into NPB's or leaving negatives "seller does not reply to emails" - "won auction no contact"


 5:57 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

> My heart sinks when I get an order or enquiry with a hotmail address.

We sent an e-mail Friday to a group of people with Hotmail addresses telling them we could not promise they would continue to get mail from us because of Hotmail's filtering. It is a content problem for us - not a blacklisting problem. Any mail we send with detailed pricing information (exactly what the respondents asked for) goes straight into the Hotmail junk mail folder. No problem at all with Google or Yahoo.

We now send a link to the information for Hotmail subscribers. So instead of one mail we have to send two, and I don't know how long this solution will work.


 5:11 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

> My heart sinks when I get an order or enquiry with a hotmail address.

Well, i tried a method that helped me get rid of this to an extent. Not all, but most hotmail users use man also. I add them to my msm im . This makes it a lil easy.


 7:06 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

It is a content problem for us - not a blacklisting problem

Their filter also seems to work in a random fashion as well. I opened a hotmail account because I wanted to find out if I was blacklisted and sent 15 emails to it from 15 different addresses I have.
6 got through and 9 went straight into junk!

I tried it several times and the best I could achieve was 10 out of 15 getting through. There were no consistencies at all.


 4:07 pm on May 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I suggested an email section to Brett, but he raised the issue that spammers would basically take it over, probably true.

Anyhow, this is a vexing situation, I guess I'm not alone in it. I've been requiring telephone numbers on our forms and having promoters call the clients direclty. The phone bill is getting huge, but it's better than losing clients.

What is worse than getting bounced back is getting email sent down a blackhole... I have no way of knowing if the customer lost interest or never received an email and thought we were not being reponsive.

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