Why are my messages being marked as spam

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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby blogtoblog3 » 12:11pm, Fri 25 Jun, 2010

I've read through the post & appreciate everyone's advice. It's still confusing to me why sometimes my email goes to spam and other times it does not, regardless of the content / consent issue
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby wanasuarez » 9:49am, Tue 26 Oct, 2010

This is a very useful information. It made me understand better the "spam" thing. Just got problem with the DNS settings. I am not really well versed on networking thing.
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby BarkingMad » 10:49pm, Thu 14 Apr, 2011

I trust it is OK for me to use this thread to raise my own question - which is probably along the same lines.

I run a small business. We send out an e-mail newsletter every month or so to about 800 e-mail addresses - all have subscribed, by registering on our website, agreeing to receive e-mail communications as a customer, or have agreed to it through other contact (such as from Tradeshows etc). The database is continually growing and every month we get an average of 4-5 new bounces, which get investigated (usually via a telephone call) and then either changed or deleted. We also usually get 1-2 Unsubscribes each month - most often where someone has retired, and the person who gets forwarded their e-mails simply Unsubscribes to everything, rather than working out who the correct replacement recipient should be.

The company has been going for 40 years, virtually all our business is b2b, and we are totally legit.

I have always used Spam Assassin to 'score' our outgoing e-mails - which usually rank about 1.2 to 1.8. This is perhaps a little on the high side, but the scores seem to be originating in the header, and because we use a mail website (graphic mail) as the outbound server, but use our own server as the reply address.

Recently, we upgraded all our workstations here and put AVG 2011 on them. AVG uses the SpamCatcher spam filter. Unfortunately, SpamCatcher scores these exact same e-mails as 90 (or more) out of 100.

There is nothing remotely dangerous about these e-mails, yet SpamCatcher views them as extremely malignant! By comparison, a recent e-mail advertising drugs to make my 'willy' bigger, and with a link that I wouldn't dare open, scored a very benign 38 from SpamCatcher.

I have tried to resolve this myself. The best I can achieve is by breaking the e-mails into 3 components - the text (fully formatted with text/css); the layout (tables, backgrounds, etc); and the graphics. When sent as separate e-mails, SpamCatcher scores them as 2, 1 and 1 respectively. Make any attempt to combine any elements of 2 of the components and the score immediately jumps to 90 or more. For example, simply put one of the graphics into the formatted text and the score (2 and 1, individually) suddenly becomes 90.

No amount of changing the file names or locations seems to have an appreciable effect on the SpamCatcher score.

By comparison, Spam Assassin rated the three e-mails as 1.2, 1.8 and 2.4 respectively. It viewed the graphics on their own as being a higher risk (as there was no text at all) - a much more reasonable proposition than SpamCatcher's view that graphics only must be totally safe.

Can anybody PLEASE help me resolve this?
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby abinclane » 11:59pm, Sun 17 Apr, 2011

I had this problem with this because I ignored the RFC compliance. Now I know why I was marked spam. Thanks for this post.
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby BarkingMad » 12:25pm, Tue 19 Apr, 2011

@Abinclane,

I'm not sure if your comment was in relation to my post or one of the earlier posts?

If in relation to mine, there is no evidence to suggest the outgoing e-mails are not RFC compliant (certainly in respect of SMTP or addresses).

All e-mails are getting delivered to the correct address. The issue is solely that any recipient who has an Anti-virus/Internet protection suite which uses the SpamCatcher spam filter (such as AVG), will have the e-mail marked as spam. Depending on their settings and/or e-mail application, said e-mails identified as spam may be directed straight to the junk folder, where it may never be seen.

Given that our e-mails are nothing more than a 'newsletter' style HTML-formatted e-mail, sent only to opt-in customers, it is unacceptable that our e-mails may be classed as spam and diverted such that the intended recipient never sees the e-mail.
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby sara135 » 7:58am, Mon 11 Jul, 2011

I have seen my own email newsletters, which contain no spam at all, beaten down by blacklisting servers and spam filters like they contained radioactive substances. I have also seen thousands if not ten of thousands of email subscribers being lost to these same supposed gatekeepers. Unfair!!!
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby poks » 3:47am, Wed 03 Aug, 2011

i appreciate spam filters but yeah, how can i not be tagged being a spammer?
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby Rituranjan » 12:07pm, Sat 18 Aug, 2012

[quote="H2B2"][size=117][b]What can you do to avoid being marked as spam[/b][/size]

A number of phplist users seem to have trouble getting their messages through the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-mail_spam]spam[/url] filters of email providers. This post briefly delineates a number of measures to keep your spam score as low as possible and to enhance the chances of reaching the inbox of your subscribers.

[b]Check that your setup complies with RFC standards[/b]
Since spammers usually do not comply with (all) RFC standards, anti-spamming measures adopted by e-mail providers will tend to include a number of checks regarding RFC compliance.
- make sure you have a [url=http://www.rfc-ignorant.org/rfcs/rfc2821.php#section4.5.1]postmaster account[/url] ([i]postmaster[/i]@example.com) for your domain.
- make sure you have an abuse account ([i]abuse[/i]@example.com)
- analyse the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email#Header]email header[/url] of your messages and check for errors. For instance, check whether the [i][url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_path]Return-path[/url][/i] address is correct. The Return-path address should reflect the message envelope address, which is usually defined through the [i]message_envelope[/i] setting in config.php. This address -as well as all other email addresses- must of course be an existing email account. Using an alias may result in trouble.
See also:
[list]
http://docs.phplist.com/PhpListConfigBounces
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounce_message#Terminology
viewtopic.php?p=45136#45136
viewtopic.php?t=4235
viewtopic.php?p=32914#32914[/list]

[b]Check your Domain Name Server (DNS) configuration[/b]
A badly configured DNS may trigger spam protection tools used by the mail providers of your subscribers, and your messages risk being rejected or marked as spam. You should therefore check your DNS configuration and ask your host to correct any DNS configuration errors (and warnings) you may find.
Services to check your DNS are available on the Internet, for instance:
[list] http://www.checkdns.net/
http://www.zonecheck.fr/
http://www.mxtoolbox.com/diagnostic.aspx
http://www.dnsstuff.com/[/list] For a list of other available web based DNS checking services, see [url=http://www.dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/Protocols/DNS/Web_Tools/]this listing[/url]
For more info on DNS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name_system

[b]Make sure your message content is not 'suspect'[/b]
- avoid phrases and wording spammers commonly use.
- do not use (too) many images.
- avoid using HTML tags that could increase your spam score, e.g. iframe tags, multiple large font tags and/or color font tags (better use inline CSS styles instead).
- avoid using scripts in your messages, like javascript, vbscript.
- correct any HTML coding errors in your messages, since these too will increase your spam score.

[b]Avoid sending attachments other than pdf[/b]
Be careful with sending attachments other than .pdf files. Attachments like .zip, .avi, .swf, .exe, etc., may trigger spam filters.

[b]Process bounces[/b]
In time, a portion of the users on your lists will eventually change their email addresses. This may occur quite frequently with popular '[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disposable_e-mail_address]disposable e-mail addresses[/url]' from webmail providers like gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc. A number of those users will not bother to update their email addresses through the phplist preferences link, and their email addresses will therefore bounce. Since sending messages to many non-existent users is likely to look suspicious, you should make sure you regularly process [url=http://docs.phplist.com/PhpListConfigBounces]bounces[/url] to clean up your user lists.

[b]Limit your sending speed[/b]
Sending many messages in a short time span is often considered suspicious behaviour from the point of view of (web)mail providers. Try using the [i]mailqueue_throttle[/i] setting in config.php to space messages apart by a number of seconds.
You could also run some tests with the experimental [i]domain_throttle[/i] feature of phplist.
See also: http://docs.phplist.com/PhpListConfigSendRate

[b]Other measures[/b]
- setup [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_Policy_Framework]SPF[/url], [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Keys]DomainKeys[/url], or [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DomainKeys_Identified_Mail]DKIM[/url]. See also [url=http://forums.phplist.com/viewtopic.php?p=53819#53819]this forum thread[/url]
- consider requesting inclusion in the '[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitelisting]whitelists[/url]' of important mail providers
- ask subscribers to '[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitelisting]whitelist[/url]' your From: email address in their email client or spam filter application
- Do not disable [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opt-in_email]double opt-in[/url] by changing the phplist code base. Double opt-in (or "[i]confirmed opt-in[/i]") is generally considered good practice and it will ensure that the users that subscribe really want to subscribe.
- make sure the [i]unsubscribe link[/i] is easily available on every message you send. If your subscribers want to unsubscribe and cannot find the unsubscribe link, they will be tempted to mark your messages as spam instead, in order to get rid of them. Eventually this may result in your domain being blacklisted.
See also:
[list] [url=http://spamlinks.net/filter-dnsbl-lists.htm]DNS Blackhole Lists[/url]
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_and_Open_Relay_Blocking_System]Spam and Open Relay Blocking System[/url]
[url=http://forums.phplist.com/viewtopic.php?p=72442#p72442]Hotmail and SPF - short tutorial[/url] [/list]

[b]Bulk mail guidelines[/b]
Here are some guidelines published by specific providers which might be useful to read:
[list][url=http://postmaster.hotmail.com/Guidelines.aspx]Hotmail[/url]
[url=http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/original/technical/abuse-35.html]Yahoo mail[/url]
[url=https://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=81126]Gmail[/url][/list]
If you know of bulk mail guidelines from other providers, please post the corresponding links in this thread.


[b]Other resources[/b]
[url=http://spamcheck.sitesell.com/]SpamCheck[/url] - Check the "spam score" of your messages
[url=http://spamlinks.net/]spamlinks.net[/url] - Everything you didn't want to have to know about spam


[b]Further reading[/b]
[list][url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-mail_spam]E-mail spam[/url]
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-spam_techniques]Anti-spam techniques[/url]
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL]DNSBL[/url]
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-mail_spam_legislation_by_country]E-mail spam legislation by country[/url]
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directive_on_Privacy_and_Electronic_Communications]Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications[/url]
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN-SPAM_Act_of_2003]CAN SPAM Act of 2003[/url][/list][/quote]

Thanks You
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby animaljournal19 » 9:37am, Sat 25 Aug, 2012

Thank you for this information. Now I know why some of the messages I received were sent to my spam folder.
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby chelyapov » 9:43pm, Wed 19 Dec, 2012

Hi,

I've been working on the spam issue and thought I'd post here and see if anyone has any additional feedback that could help me improve further. I send out approx. 11,000 emails, and my bounce rate is 4%. I'd like to get it as low as possible, of course. I've been combing through the bounces to get more information. Some of the major providers, like Verizon, Microsoft and AT&T provide a message in the bounce with instructions on how to get white listed. My request to Verizon was approved very quickly. Others are a little less straightforward, like Century Link (embarqmail.com, q.com, etc.) which sends the message "Message blocked due to spam content in the message." Others are even more vague: "Mail rejected by policy." So I ran my email through two email spam content checkers. Both checks gave me the score of zero, saying my message was totally clean.

So... how do I figure out what is triggering the spam content message? And is 4% all right -- am I wasting my time on this?
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby plm5002 » 7:44pm, Sat 11 May, 2013

Hi Chelyapov-- were you able to figure any of this stuff out RE: the spam policy? I get lots of "message blocked due to spam content" as well, on legit emails.


[quote="chelyapov"]Hi,

I've been working on the spam issue and thought I'd post here and see if anyone has any additional feedback that could help me improve further. I send out approx. 11,000 emails, and my bounce rate is 4%. I'd like to get it as low as possible, of course. I've been combing through the bounces to get more information. Some of the major providers, like Verizon, Microsoft and AT&T provide a message in the bounce with instructions on how to get white listed. My request to Verizon was approved very quickly. Others are a little less straightforward, like Century Link (embarqmail.com, q.com, etc.) which sends the message "Message blocked due to spam content in the message." Others are even more vague: "Mail rejected by policy." So I ran my email through two email spam content checkers. Both checks gave me the score of zero, saying my message was totally clean.

So... how do I figure out what is triggering the spam content message? And is 4% all right -- am I wasting my time on this?[/quote]
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Re: Why are my messages being marked as spam

Postby BlueLuke » 6:54pm, Wed 07 Aug, 2013

You can add this to the list of resources..

http://unlocktheinbox.com/resources/ema ... ntication/

It tells your EVERYTHING about your email configuration, just by sending an email to "mailtest@unlocktheinbox.com"
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