ISPs Block Some Legitimate Email

from the how-do-they-judge? dept

A new study sponsored by those who say they're in the "legitimate" opt-in email marketing business have found that, in their effort to stop spam, most ISPs block many legitimate marketing emails. In fact, 17% of all "permission based" emails were blocked. While I don't doubt that ISPs are blocking legitimate messages, I'd like to see more details on this study. How did they determine what was a "legitimate" message. Were they "double opt-in"? Or were they just from a list where the company claimed it was opt-in? The real question isn't how many marketing messages didn't get through, but how many people were upset that they missed certain messages. If people don't even notice they got blocked and aren't upset that they missed the messages, is it really that big of a deal? I'm against systems that are overly aggressive in blocking emails, but I'm also skeptical of email marketing companies coming out with studies against spam filters.
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  • identicon
    Hanah Metchis, 13 Aug 2003 @ 11:59am

    Lost Opportunities

    You make a good point when you say that it's not at all clear what's meant by legitimate marketing e-mails here. But I think asking whether people missed the e-mails and were upset is too high a standard.

    Suppose I discover a new online store that I like, and I sign up for their mailing list. A few days later, I've forgotten all about it. If I receive an e-mail from them, that's great and maybe I'll find out about a new product I'm interested in. If not, it probably won't occur to me that I've missed anything at all. In this case, a blocked message severely impacts the marketer (they don't make a sale), and it moderately impacts the consumer (they don't find out about a product they would have liked to get). It's a net negative, but it doesn't rise to the level of "I'm really angry that this e-mail was blocked."

    This kind of missed opportunity can be devastating to a small business. It can also seriously affect non-profit groups that rely on opt-in newsletters to get their message out and attract donors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mike, 13 Aug 2003 @ 12:11pm

      Re: Lost Opportunities

      Absolutely. That's a really good point.

      Perhaps a better test would be some sort of combination. That is, show the recipient all the "legitimate" email that was blocked and then ask them if they would have liked to have received this missed email.

      Does that work?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        thecaptain, 14 Aug 2003 @ 8:21am

        Re: Lost Opportunities

        yes and no.

        As in most things tech, it depends on how it was implemented.

        This would be the same has having the "junk mail" folder in hotmail. Ie: Sure, my inbox isn't flooded with spam, BUT, I still have to wade through hundreds of spam just to see IF there's something in there I WANT to get.

        The end result is the same...

        However, this IS better than just a plain ol' inbox flooded with spam mind you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GaryRay, 13 Aug 2003 @ 1:35pm

    My ISP blocked stuff I wanted.

    I am with a small local non-profit ISP and they have a spam blocking program set up. It was stopping my business mail that I signed up to get from companies that I do business with. And doing the same with my 'hobby' lists that I signed up for. It took me two months to get them to stop the spam blocker. I don't want somebody else figuring out what mail I want. It is too easy to just hit delete. I don't see the problem. I get hundreds of spam mails a week and it must take me all of 2 minutes to get rid of it all. I for one don't like spam blockers. I have been on line for almost 13 years and spam has always been there and I always just hit delete.

    I have at least two friends that have spam blockers set up on their accounts and I can't send e-mail to them. And they say this happens to them all the time. Most of their friends can't get through. But they have no spam. Why have e-mail if you restrict it so much that your friends can't get a e-mail to you.

    I say get over spam, delete it and go on. If you are a business person you have to get your e-mail address out there and you have to be able to look at all your mail. What if one good business account sends you e-mail that is blocked out and you miss a business deal. Not worth it for me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2003 @ 2:43pm

      Re: My ISP blocked stuff I wanted.

      The real answer is that everyone should have the spam blocking that they want. ISPs are getting to the point of giving their customers that capability, but frankly, it's probably the biggest difference between ISPs right now.
      Still, if you run a business over email and don't discuss potential spam blocking with your ISP, that's not smart.
      Just don't tell me to "get over spam." I'm all in favor of you having whatever spam blocking you want on your account. Why should you care what spam blocking I have on mine? As I said, everybody should be able to have the spam blocking they want.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, 13 Aug 2003 @ 11:45pm

    how not to block legitimate email

    One way an ISP can be practically sure that its spam blocking doesn't block legitimate email is to set up bogus addresses, which don't belong to any real people, and then put them out where the spammers will find them. Any email that goes to those addresses is guaranteed to be spam. I believe this is what Brightmail does. The only possible uncertainty comes in matching that email against other similar email, since a lot of the spam these days comes with random permutations such as HTML comments stuck in the middle of words.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    V, 22 Jun 2007 @ 8:50pm

    spam filtering by ISPs

    I think that ISPs have no business whatsoever filtering emails for spam. It is ruining a great communication medium. I do business online and I cna trust my customers get my emails half the time, and often they dont get my emails due to spam filters along the way somewhere. God dam it!!! Customers wait for my replies and never get them. Because some stupid spam filter doesnt like my email. Its maddening. ISPs should be in the business of delivering email not stopping it, those idiots. Spam should be the responsibility of the person running the computer not the ISP. What do you think would happen if the Post Office sat there and decided what letters you are supposed to get in your mailbox? The ISPs do that, and send no notice they CENSORED YOUR MAIL. Somebody needs to bitch slap all those lame ass ISPs. If soem interferees with delivery of the mail of the US Post Ofice it is a felony Ctime. Now we just need to apply that same law to ISPs delivering Electronic mail. Get the hell out of the way you lame brain dead ISPs, and do the job you are there to do, not baby sit you customers you idiots.... Christ!!!!! How stupid can you be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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