Tag: spam filters

AHBL Wildcards the Internet

AHBL (Abusive Host Blocking List) is a DNSBL (Domain Name Service Blacklist) that has been available since 2003 and is used by administrators to crowd-source spam sources, open proxies, and open relays.  By collecting the data into a single list, an email system can check this blacklist to determine if a message should be accepted […]


Spam is not a moral judgement

Mention an email is spam to some senders and watch them dance around trying to explain all the ways they aren’t spammers. At some point, calling an email spam seems to have gone from a statement of fact into some sort of moral judgement on the sender. But calling an email spam is not a […]


Spamhaus Speaks

There’s been a lot of discussion about Spamhaus, spam traps, and blocking. Today, Spamhaus rep Denny Watson posted on the Spamhaus blog about some of the recent large retailer listings. He provides us with some very useful information about how Spamhaus works, and gives 3 case studies of recent listings specifically for transactional messages to […]


Censoring email

It seems some mail to Apple’s iCloud has been caught in filters. Apparently, a few months ago someone sent a script to a iCloud user that contained the phrase “barely legal teen” and Apple’s filters ate it. The amount of hysteria that I’ve seen in some places about this, though, seems excessive. One of my […]

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8 things that make your mail look like spam

In the comments of last week’s Wednesday question John B. asked Can you elaborate on specifics of “configure machines to not look like spam ware”? There are a lot of things that spamware does that is different from a lot of standard MTAs. Here are a list of things that may make your mail look […]


Things Spammers Do

Much like every other day, I got some spam today. Here’s a lightly edited copy of it. Let’s go through it and see what they did that makes it clear that it’s spam, which companies helped them out, and what you should avoid doing to avoid looking like these spammers… Received: from [] ( [] by […]


Hunting the Human Representative

Yesterday’s post was inspired by a number of questions I’ve fielded recently from people in the email industry. Some were clients, some were colleagues on mailing lists, but in most cases they’d found a delivery issue that they couldn’t solve and were looking for the elusive Human Representative of an ISP. There was a time […]


Motivating people

I’ve been thinking a lot about motivating people recently. What really motivates people to do things? Why do we make the choices we make? How do you convince people to do things when they’re unsure they want to do those things? Let me give you an example. Friends of mine are fostering dogs for local […]


Content, trigger words and subject lines

There’s been quite a bit of traffic on twitter this afternoon about a recent blog post by Hubspot identifying trigger words senders should avoid in an email subject line. A number of email experts are assuring the world that content doesn’t matter and are arguing on twitter and in the post comments that no one […]


Listen to me talk about filtering, blocklists and delivery

I did an interview with Practical eCommerce a few weeks ago. The podcast and transcript are now available. I want to thank Kerry and the rest of the staff there for the opportunity to talk email and filtering with their readers. Happy Thanksgiving everyone in the US.

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  • Lost in the mists of time

    Over on the Farsight Security blog Joe St. Sauver talks about some of the early days of online abuse, on usenet. Laura and I were on the periphery of early usenet abuse, mostly as users, but Usenet (and IRC) around then were the places we both started with email abuse.No Comments

  • Ongoing Yahoo delays

    I've been hearing from folks over the last few days that they're seeing an uptick in deferrals from Yahoo! The deferrals are not uniform. ESPs report they're seeing some, but not all, customers affected. Other ESPs aren't seeing any changes. It's not just you. But it would be very worthwhile to dig into engagement and other stats. It's possible this is a new normal at Yahoo! and they're tightening filters to catch mail that doesn't fit their standards but was previously difficult to filter.No Comments

  • AOL starts using Sender Score Certification

    Good news for Sender Score Certified IPs. Return Path recently announced that AOL has joined the list of ISPs offering preferential treatment to certified IPs.  1 Comment