Report spam button broken: an ISP perspective
This press release has been discussed in a lot of groups and sites I read. One of my favorite comments comes from one of the filter developers at a large ISP. He was asked “does the overuse/misuse of the this-is-spam button significantly affect the ability to do your job?” His response, reposted with permission,
The customer is always right. In my opinion, there is no such thing as ‘overuse’ of the report spam button. The more feedback we get, the better. Our job is to keep the user’s inbox in the state they want it. The more they tell us what they do and don’t want, the clearer picture we get about who is sending unwanted mail. So I would say, yes, it does affect my ability to do my job in that it enables me to actually do my job.
It might cause my job to involve more detailed research into people’s preferences and what to do with mail that people disagree about, but I don’t see that as a problem.
Just because a marketer doesn’t like that we consider our users’ opinions to be more important than theirs is not really a problem either as far as I’m concerned. I’m here to serve my users, not them. They can either send mail that people don’t respond negatively to, or I can put their mail in the spamfolder. It’s not like they are going to make any money by repeatedly mailing people who think their mail is spam anyway.
If senders really want ISPs to change things, that is one of the people they are going to have to convince to make the change. It does not seem that the current methodology to effect change is being effective. Senders who want more cooperation from receivers need to start listening to him, and his peers in the industry, and start making misuse of the this-is-spam button important to them.
The ISPs are open to feedback. Just yesterday I posted the request from AOL to get feedback on how ISPs and ESPs are using the data AOL is generating. They are actively looking at how bounce rates are used in order to send clearer, more useful data back to senders (bulk senders and ISP senders). Cooperate with them here, help them improve their processes and maybe they will be more open to listening to senders in the future.