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98% of all my HTML email is Spam

     
9:43 pm on Sep 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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4000+ emails received over the last two weeks.
214 where html.
Of those 201 were pure spam.

Is that enough to devnull the 13 as clueless newbies deserving of the waste bin?

10:32 pm on Sept 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Depends on whether you're an online shopper or not. My Williams-Sonoma emails just aren't that enticing in text.
11:38 pm on Sept 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Brett - I don't think the problem is HTML mail - the problem is spammers. I would certainly agree that the vast majority of the HTML mail I recieve is spam. But that doesn't mean HTML isn't a useful way to present information in an e-mail.

Of course, I recognize that the "HTML mail is evil" thing is always good for a few heated exchanges ;)

1:00 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yep.
1:03 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Is that enough to devnull the 13 as clueless newbies deserving of the waste bin?

I just had to take off my html devnull. I discovered I wasn't getting my mums emails and it's less stressful to just let them thorough than talk her through the settings in LookOut! heh!

Nick

1:03 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So that's why you never reply to my emails ;)
1:11 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>98% of all my HTML email is Spam

98% of all my TEXT email is spam too ...

I'm seriously thinking about shutting down ALL email at ALL of my sites and just keep ONE private Adress shared only with trustworthy, non-windoze users.

1:26 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Incredimail must die, and then the newbies are taken care of... ;)

Actually I use bold and larger/smaller text inside some of my emails in Eudora, does that count as HTML email? It's not multipart. I've noticed it can be read in just about every email program.

mat

1:39 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Don't /dev/null html mail, /dev/null html mail with <img in the body. Mom's formatted text'll get through, but the real html cr*p, images 'n all won't.

Of course this filter should come prety low down your procmail/whatever recipe, as there is a fair amount of grunt involved (I guess) in scanning body as opposed to header.

1:48 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've never analyzed it, but well over 90% of my e-mail is spam. I get both text and HTML spam, though I'd guess that more is HTML. That hasn't biased me against HTML e-mail, though.

Nevertheless, I prefer HTML newsletters that present their articles in a well-formatted way and can include charts and the like. I get a few text-only newsletters and find them rather unenticing & rarely read them. Ditto for flyers & sale notifications from companies where I shop - illustrations and formatting make them far more interesting and much more likely to be read.

I also find formatting commands useful for business e-mails. While text is fine for a quick note to confirm a meeting, a detailed series of answers to a client's questions is easier to read when enhanced with bold, italics, & indents. Others must think so, too, because I get a fair number of incoming business e-mails that are formatted with HTML commands.

With ever-increasing bandwidth and ever-cheaper storage, pure text e-mail will eventually be seen as a relic of 300-baud modem days.

Whether HTML-formatted mail is currently a good spam filter depends on your willingness to accept the loss of non-spam e-mail. My tolerance for false positives is very low, so I wouldn't do it. To use Brett's original example, I get far more than 200 spam e-mails per day, but throwing out even 13 non-spam e-mails would be a potential disaster.

<added>Only 200 HTML e-mails out of 4000 seems like an unusually low percentage... I've never studied mine, but I'd guess I'm well over 25%. Of course, most I delete without actually opening...</added>

2:05 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Today I got an email that wasn't spam. It was however HTML. A nice surprise to find a handwritten email by somebody who's at least heard of me! :-)
2:08 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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on't /dev/null html mail, /dev/null html mail with <img in the body. Mom's formatted text'll get through, but the real html cr*p, images 'n all won't.

Oooh, good idea!

Anyone care to help with the procmail recipe? - I can do the search for Content-Type: text/html but how might I incorporate an <img> search in the body to that?

Cheers

Nick

mat

2:36 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, the following works for me, but it does throw a procmail error in the log - not sure why, but the trap works and I was too lazy to go chasing after the problem - an extraneous header or somesuch thing. You can remove the log bit if you don't keep a log.

So, caveat emptor:

:0 B
* \<img
{
LOG="img"
:0
/send/to/wherever
}

2:38 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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:/

My mom sends me HTML emails with images.

So does my mother-out-law (what do you call the mom of the man you live in sin with? I never quite knew...).

So, that's out for me! Oh well.

3:03 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Just got this newbie spam. All text but with an attached 3 706 k pdf calogue... ;)

What I hate to recieve is those HTML spam using images instead of text not to trip in my filters...

Hello world!?! I dont need viagra (yet)!

<!--fixed another typo of mine, now I am going to get spammed with English courses ;-)-->

[edited by: Macguru at 6:57 pm (utc) on Sep. 29, 2003]

3:15 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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> I dont need viagra (yet)!

And when I do, I'll talk to my doctor about it! Not you!

Not that I plan on needing it, but if those p---- enlargement pills work, I guess I may eventually.

6:38 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Twice in the last week I accidently deleted legit e-mails while deleting spams.

I am so tired of deleting spam I usually go real quick while just looking at the subject line. That is how I am throwing away real mail.

In one year I have come full circle in my hate of e-mail spam. If I ever come face-to-face with a e-mail spammer again it is not going to be pretty.

I too, do not need any prescription services (for the record).

6:43 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Every good spam filter uses an exception list. So make an exception for mom, but kill everyone else sending you images. I think I can set a rule for this in Eudora, I'm gonna go fiddle with it now.
6:58 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't get rid of all HTML mail, in large part because I see a rising number of legitimate messages using it, and I'd much rather get my email as HTML than RTF. (Unfortunately, I'm afraid Grandma and cousins Joe and Jane are never going to give up their pretty font colors no matter how many times we tell them.)

However, I've just been playing with Bogofilter, and with a little bit of training it's already so good that I might consider sending anything with "X-Bogosity: Yes" to /dev/null.

(what do you call the mom of the man you live in sin with? I never quite knew...)

I always referred to her as "Jackie's mother" or "my girlfriend's mother". In my case the partner in sin was female (She still is. We just filled out some papers to share benefits, and as a side effect most people don't seem to think it's sin anymore.), but it's the same predicament, right?
7:10 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>an exception for mom, but kill everyone else sending you images

I think I must get a higher proportion of legit mails than anyone else, because i get a lot of HTML with images from people I really want to hear from. Including the long-lost college buddy who finds a picture of me on her hard drive and emails me out of the blue with it wanting to get back in touch...
I don't get much spam, though, so I'm really not qualified to offer views. (I've got totally clean addresses... except I just started getting weird African con artist spams recently and don't know how. Growl.)

>filled out some papers to share benefits

That's how I see it, too. I said as much to my mom and she was scandalized at how cavalier or mercenary I was about it. So I guess the key is not to put it that way.
I guess my boyfriend doesn't feel the same way, though, so I don't think we'll be filling out those papers anytime soon. I guess it's just as well-- if he took it more seriously than me, it would probably not be a good start. Anyhow I don't even dare bring up the topic for fear of sounding like the stereotypical woman who just wants a wedding.

I like "mother-out-law" better. It sounds cool. I might start using it and see if i can get it to catch on.

7:27 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think I must get a higher proportion of legit mails than anyone else...I don't get much spam

If you like, we can always take care of that. lol

I use my ISP's filter which can be set pretty strict. I've set it up so anyone not in my address book has to fill out a short form sent to them requesting permission for mail delivery. It's a pain on their part, but the less than 1% who do so and are legit get added so they don't have to do it next time. The remaining 99% all get trashed without review.

8:53 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I finally get to contribute.

I am amazed that you guys dont use an ISP that filters robot generated traffic.

ispwest.com for instance can be had for under ten dollars a month. With them my spam dropped from several hundred a month to one or two.
They are not robot generated.
When I get one I forward it to abuse@ispwest.com and they add it to their "no no" list!

Lee Clark

9:12 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think I must get a higher proportion of legit mails than anyone else ... I've got totally clean addresses.

Me too. The problem I had training Bogofilter was that I had so much more legit mail than spam that there weren't enough examples of "bad" messages. The accounts I have advertised in WHOIS records, of course, generate much more spam than legit mail, but my personal boxes don't. Even the one I've had for six years and haven't been very careful about spreading around doesn't get much spam. I like to think that my habbit of reading headers and complaining to ISPs helps, though more and more of it seems to come from Asia, where I can't tell if they don't care or just can't understand me.

anyone not in my address book has to fill out a short form

I'm sure challenge-response works, but my problem isn't *nearly* bad enough to make me want to hassle my friends, family, aquaintances, and business contacts witht that. Hopefully it never will be.

Anyhow I don't even dare bring up the topic for fear of sounding like the stereotypical woman who just wants a wedding.

Odd stereotype. As I understand it, your average man is actually much more keen on the idea of marriage than your average woman.

I like "mother-out-law" better. It sounds cool. I might start using it and see if i can get it to catch on.

:) It covers the situation as well as -in-law covers things if you have filled out the papers. My aunt at least used to prefer mother-in-love, which at least theoretically ought to cover both cases. It doesn't make for such nice word play, though.
9:19 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm dubious about the challenge/response system for anything other than personal users. I get far too many auto-generated e-mails that I need to see - monthly invoices, PPC balance info, PPC management updates, selected forum notifications... the list goes on and on. I'm sure there's some mechanism to manually add these, but in many cases I don't know what the originating address is. Also, I've seen originating addresses change periodically without notice, which could result in lost mail.
9:22 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure challenge-response works, but my problem isn't *nearly* bad enough to make me want to hassle my friends, family, aquaintances, and business contacts witht that.

I preloaded people like that in my address book so they've never received any challenge. I only use this system on two addresses which get heavily spammed. The others get the regular filter.
I'm dubious about the challenge/response system for anything other than personal users. I get far too many auto-generated e-mails that I need to see ...

They all pretty much come out of the same domain names right? My ISP's filter takes domains as well as individual addresses. None of the email is ever lost. It goes into a spam trap that you can review and then delete. I choose not to review it. Once you set it up and monitor it for a short time to make sure no one who should be reaching you falls in to it, there's really no need to keep monitoring. I've spot checked it periodically and it's always pure spam. Humans who need to get thru after that have always responded.
11:18 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I would highly recommend below.

This is what I am using

1) OutLook XP (2003 is suppose to be having inbuild spam filter.... :) )
2) Spam Inspector
3) Huge block list in Rule Wizard.

This is the result.

Only 1 email of every 500 spams makes it to the inbox.

Lol.. I guess. it would be actually a good idea to make a small web site and start sharing the rule wizard list.

NS

2:54 am on Sept 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If you're a techie who only uses Pine, and who only communicates with other Pine users and only receives text e-mails, blocking HTML mail may be a time saver. But I wouldn't block formatted mail any sooner than I'd block, say, non-U.S.-originating e-mail. Probably 99% of foreign mail I receive is spam, but every few days there's an old college buddy stationed in Europe or university researcher in Asia requesting information writing in.

Fighting spam take a multifaceted approach-- like fighting juvenile delinquency, terrorism, all the other troubles of the world. Source filtering and content filtering, server-side rejects from open relays and client-side plugins, possible legal challenges and so on have to be used in combination to control it.

10:55 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I also take the time to forward the really bad/annoying/tricked by teh subject line spam to spamcop.net - and fill in a spamreport - because just deleting it doesn't stop it. Its a little tedious - but because Spamcop sends reports to the ISP - the spammer gets some grief too... so it appeals to my sense of karma & justice
11:31 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>214 where html. Of those 201 were pure spam.
>98% of all my HTML email is Spam

93.9% actually.

Best way to stop spam is to use a shared database of known offenders coupled with some intelligent rules. Kill it all you can't....kill 99% of it you can.

And afterall life would be boring without the occasional spam message getting though!

11:56 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Dont bother with the spammers.

Lets put all the people that respond to these and buy stuff on their own email provider - the spammers can just target the providers domain and leave the rest of us alone. Spammers get a better conversion rate. The rest of us are spared form stupid people.

:)
Scott

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