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Newsletter is Blocked

Posted By On November 18, 2004 @ 11:02 AM In E-Mail Help,Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

Q:
I have been getting your newsletter in my email for a while now. I found some great software and I have really learned alot. But I stopped getting the newsletter and wondered why?

A:
As the anti-spam frenzy heightens, this complaint becomes more common. Sure we want less spam, but at what cost? Legitimate email that you want to read is not getting to you, vanishing into the dark hole at the center of cyberspace.

We recently had problems with a medium sized ISP blocking our e-mail (we resolved it easily). However, the way they blocked us was very disturbing.

Rather than just blocking our server, they blocked us and 255 other servers that were in our “network section”. So, anyone who sent e-mail to that ISP from one of those other 255 servers was also blocked! People who had nothing to do with us were unable to correspond with their customers! This ISP was basically “punishing” 255 innocent sites because of what amounted to a misunderstanding between them and us.

This type of blocking is akin to the police shooting a bank robber, then turning their guns on the customers just because they were nearby. And your ISP may be censoring your e-mail with this (or a similar) service. Scary huh?

I’m sure by now you see what’s happening. The anti-spam machine has gotten out of control. Since effective filtering still seems to elude us, ISPs are grasping onto anything they can. Unfortunately the e-mail you want from friends, family, business associates, and newsletters are getting hit by friendly fire.

In addition, the few times we were accidentally blocked, we were not notified of it—a “guilty until proven innocent” scenario. So, someone can sign up for our newsletter, decide they don’t like it, call it spam, and we’re blocked. After all, since we sent it, we must be guilty, right? That’s the current anti-spam way of thinking.

The Solution?

OK, in case you hadn’t noticed, we don’t think the current filtering methods are the correct way to prevent spam :-)

The bad news is that if we had any really good answers, we’d have already taken action with them.

Seems to me the best way for spam to get under control is to get the government involved. As a general rule, I don’t like government regulation. This may be the exception.

I really think that anti-spam legislation may help. It won’t eliminate the problem since it would only apply to US companies, but at least it would establish some guidelines. Naturally, I have some suggestions for guidelines:

1. All e-mail from WorldStart is automatically OK ;-)

2. All e-mail needs to be sent with a “real” reply address. Since there is generally a link to a product or service in the spam-mail, there is a way to trace the source for no-compliance.

3. All e-mail should have a working removal method (we actually have 3, but that’s just us :-) . If the address was obtained from some master list, it would be nice to be able to remove from that source as well (hard to implement).

4. Anytime you sign up for something on the internet, it should be stated clearly if you’re going to be put onto any kind of list. Burying it in a privacy policy somewhere is not going to work—it needs to be on the form.

Another thought that has been bouncing around for legitimate e-mail publications is a universal “white list” that bypasses filters. You would basically stick a code in your e-mail that a compliant filter system would recognize as being an approved publication. Unfortunately, I’m sure as this happens spammers will steal codes from legit publications and put them in their own.

We’ll have to see if anything tamper-proof develops.

Or, you can download our Free Newsletter Reader. I developed this application because we are getting blocked so much. It gives you access to all of our newsletters without going through your email. Here’s the link for more info:
http://worldstart.com/newsreader/

~ Steve


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