Tuesday, June 12, 2012
An apparently new spam filtering offering, SpamCop, may be shutting down your ability to do business by email, especially if you're one of their customers. We've received 3 rejections in a single day of email sent to business associates who are SpamCop users.
The problem? SpamCop apparently operates on a trivially simple algorithm -- if there have been spam reports from your mail server's IP address, their clients' mailboxes block all your mail. That's your mail server's hardware IP address, not your own mail address or even domain name.
Trouble is, many small businesses don't host their own email. In many cases their email server is provided along with web hosting, etc. from a commercial internet services provider (ISP). Your mail server's IP address may be the same as 10, 20 or 100 other accounts, any of which might be used by someone sending spam or interpreted as sending spam.
Nevertheless, once on SpamCop's blacklist it's hard to get off. No doubt they're handling tens of millions of "unblock" requests, each of which may need human intervention.
A far better solution is a more intelligent approach -- SpamArrest.com SpamArrest uses a personalized algorithm that allows you to "whitelist" your entire address book as legitimate senders. When it gets a message from an unknown email address, it bounces back a message to the sender, saying, in essence, "If you are a real person, click here and validate yourself, then we'll send your email through." It also saves the "suspect" emails in a folder you can check occasionally and the "OK" new senders, in case the bounceback message gets ignored.
So, if you're considering spam filtering alternatives, stay away from SpamCop. What it will do is get in the way of a lot of email that you do want, in the name of reducing spam. Look instead at SpamArrest, a filtering algorithm that not only makes more sense, but also works great and is easy to use.
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