Didn't Get Email? That Could Be Spam's Fault, Too

from the block-first,-ask-questions-later dept

Yet another story about some of the bad side effects of anti-spam systems, with this one focusing on people missing important emails thanks to over-anxious spam filters. It’s always going to be a battle if you’re trying to prevent email from getting through, and this is the price people pay. It is interesting to see someone from AOL admit that they “block first and ask questions later”. Of course, email systems that either don’t alert the sender that they’ve been blocked or don’t let the recipient review blocked emails are a real problem. Even when the recipient can review blocked emails, in many cases, they simply choose not to.

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Comments on “Didn't Get Email? That Could Be Spam's Fault, Too”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Vulcan Filters

“Over-anxious spam filters”? Most of the spam filters I know of are cool, calm, and collected, without emotions. 🙂

But seriously, your comment here is fighting with itself. On one hand, the filters are over-anxious. On the other hand, “this is the price people pay.” And on one hand, ISPs should let recipients review blocked emails. On the other hand, the recipients don’t review them, they just delete them.

Some facts:

1. There will never be a spam filtering system that will not have “bad side effects”. As people become aware of this, they will adapt, like not sending critical information in email without a follow-up. This is not a crime against humanity.
2. The flood of spam is so great right now that, while some recipients want to review blocked mail, most people don’t. So this is not a “real problem.”
3. Notifying the sender that they’ve been blocked is ridiculous. Most spam has a forged sender- you simply cannot notify the sender. So this also is not a “real problem.”
4. Senders of email cannot be naive with respect to bulk mail. Over time, people will understand that firing off batches of email will trigger spam filtering. Companies and listservs have mostly learned this. Schools and organizations are learning it.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Cellphone deal

A friend of mine talked me into switching to a different cell phone plan. When I got my new phone, included in the box was an advertisement for a refer-a-friend promotion. I called my friend and said, “hey, before I activate this thing, you should do this refer-a-friend thing and we’ll each get some free talk time out of it”.

He referred me, and then called me back to let me know that my ISP had blocked the incoming referral e-mail because it ‘looks like spam’ and it was bounced back to his e-mail address.

He then changed the subject line and re-sent it and I got it a couple minutes later. What a pain.

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