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What's up with microsoft?

A c/p from an email I sent to a mailing list.
I think we’re seeing a new normal, or are still on the pathway to a new normal. Here’s my theory.
1) Hotmail made a lot of underlying code changes, learning from 2 decades of spam filtering. They had a chance to write a new codebase and they took it.
2) The changes had some interesting effects that they couldn’t test for and didn’t expect. They spent a month or two shaking out the effects and learning how to really use the new code.
3) They spent a month or two monitoring. Just watching. How are their users reacting? How are senders reacting? How are the systems handling everything?
3a) They also snagged test data along the way and started learning how their new code base worked and what it can do.
4) As they learned more about the code base they realized they can do different and much more sophisticated filtering.
5) The differences mean that some mail that was previously OK and making it to the inbox isn’t any longer.
5a) From Microsoft’s perspective, this is a feature not a bug. Some mail that was making it to the inbox previously isn’t mail MS thinks users want in their inbox. So they’re filtering it to bulk. I’ll also step out on a limb and say that most of the recipients aren’t noticing or caring about the missing mail, so MS sees no reason to make changes to the filters.
6) Expect at least another few rounds of tweak and monitor before things settle into something that changes more gradually.
Overall, I think delivery at Microsoft really is more difficult and given some of the statements coming out of MS (and some of the pointed silence) I don’t think they’re unhappy with this.

4 comments

  1. Stefano Bagnara says

    They may be unhappy, but a couple of weeks ago I received their own “Office365 subscription reminder” in junk, in the “info@” inbox of that office365 domain. As a customer I’m not happy to receive reminders in junk… and I don’t agree with Microsoft (antispam) about Microsoft (the sender) being a spammer 😉 . I reported the “misplacement”, but of course they don’t share the details.
    —–
    From: “Microsoft Office 365 Team”
    X-Forefront-Antispam-Report: CIP:68.232.193.199;IPV:NLI;CTRY:US;EFV:NLI;SFV:SPM;SFS:(#TOKENS#);DIR:INB;SFP:;SCL:9;SRVR:VI1P193MB0237;H:mta.email.microsoftonline.com;FPR:;SPF:Pass;PTR:mta.email.microsoftonline.com;A:1;MX:1;CAT:BULK;LANG:it;
    —–
    At least this a proof that they are not filtering based on prejudice.

  2. Jacob Haller says

    I’m annoyed at Office 365’s insistence on placing warnings on messages with ‘From:’ addresses from domains with DMARC ‘p=none’ records if the ‘From:’ address aren’t ‘SPF-aligned’. It’s very mailing list unfriendly.

  3. Ted Silverman says

    Most consumers will not “miss” email from a brand for many days or even weeks, and to say that this implies the ESP is justified in putting the email into a Spam / Junk folder is irresponsible. What benefit are the ESPs getting by sending more email to a Junk folder, where it is unlikely to be read? Are consumers going to spend more time on the email app/site, view more ads, etc.? I doubt it.

  4. Mahtieu B says

    “Are consumers going to spend more time on the email app/site, view more ads, etc.”
    Consumers are less likely to change ship if the filtering is efficient. Problem with spam filtering going being too aggressive is that it’s nowhere near as bothersome as spam filtering getting too soft. Way back in the mid 2000’s when spam filtering on MSPs was not as efficient I had to let a couple of email adresses die: they had become unusable due to the amount of spam. Both times I went to another provider to find a better filter. That is what MSPs are afraid of: people switching to a competitor, and it happens way more because of “not enough filtering” than “too much filtering”.

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