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Spam is our problem

We probably all scan through our ‘spam’ email folder every day or two, because we know our email application doesn’t always get things right. However, our email servers probably have their own spam email rejection systems, which means that many messages never even get as far as our email application. We simply don’t know about these messages. When they get things wrong – and they do – then our only hope is that they post a reply to the sender saying they’ve rejected the message. If the sender is a person, they’ll probably try to contact us another way.

However, if the sender is a mailing list, the recipient just gets marked as a ‘soft bounce’, or words to that effect. So for anyone running a mailing list, it’s important to keep on top of these ‘soft bounces’. In some systems, a few of these in a row from the same recipient result in the mailing list application taking the recipient off the list completely. If the ‘soft bounce’ was due to our message being incorrectly identified as spam, we have a problem. The result can easily be an incorrect, gradual attrition of the mailing list, with nobody (sender or recipient) being aware there’s something wrong.

We need to be aware

For regular emails, the recipients will probably notice. This email, for example, comes out every day, readers know that, and if they don’t get an issue, they often tell us. Normally the problem is incorrect spam detection at their end. However, for irregular emails, the readers won’t know they’ve missed something, so as senders, we need to be aware of that. Keeping on top of the ‘bounced’ emails on our mailing list is an important task.

As a recipient, if you subscribe to an email (like this one!), and want to reduce the chances of an issue ever being rejected by your email system, it’s important to add the sender to your ‘whitelist’. Very few people do this. Just search online for the instructions on how to do it with whatever email client you use. For example, you’ll need to add chris@bmon.co.uk for this email. Sadly, that won’t affect your email server system, which will have its own spam filtering, but we should get notifications at this end if we get bounces from that, and we’ll try to keep on top of things.

Meanwhile, if you don’t get this email one day, the one you missed (and all 3990 previous ones) can be found at www.bmon.co.uk/articles/