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A Very Monty Python Guide to Email Spam Filters and Blacklists

A VERY MONTY PYTHON GUIDE To Email SPAM FILTERS And BLACKLISTS YOU'RE NOT A SPAMMER. LEARN HOW TO AVOID BEING TREATED LIKE ONE. It's estimated that 80%-95% of emails sent today are spam. You're one of the good guys, you know it and I know it, but in a world of finger pointing and painful accusations it can be hard to prove you're in the 5x-20%. Rest easy, you've come to the right place. I dont like Spam. WHAT IS SPAM? Spam is the word used to describe unsolicited, unwanted and usually commercial emails that have been clogging up our inboxes for years. ISN'T THAT A CANNED FOOD ITEM? The first time the word "spam" was used to refer to junk email was in 1994 and was made in reference to the 1970 Monty Python sketch on the love-it-or-hate-it food item of the same name. In the sketch, Spam is portrayed as excessive and inescapable. See the connection? WHAT ARE SPAM FILTERS? Spam filters work by attributing a number of "spam points" to certain predetermined triggers in both the subject line and body text of your email. These triggers can be words, phrases, and even formatting that is most commonly found in spammy emails. If your email receives a certain number of spam points, it is automatically forwarded to spam or junk folders. The amount of points it takes for an email to be sent to its fiery spam folder doom varies for each email provider and the spam filter settings set by the individual user. Some spam filters will even learn from what their users mark as spam and add those parameters to their own recipient Even worse, metrics. Because of this, many spam filters can become overly strict. Spam filters are Once an email is filtered into a spam folder, it will likely never reach your intended programs that Ilurk in a user's inbox waiting to pounce on any email it deems to be spar the it identifies a v email in question is carted off to the dreaded spam folder. Once most of the time there is 10 way for you to the fate of your email WHAT ARE BLACKLISTS? A public email blacklist (sometimes referred to as a blackhole list) is a collection of IP addresses and domains that have been linked to spamming. Once an IP address has been added to a blacklist as a known source of spam, any and all emails coming from that location will be blocked. In short, it's a prison for IP addresses and domains. Just like spam filters, different email providers use different blacklists, and there are a lot of them. Being added to one list doesn't necessarily mean you'll be blocked by them all, but some do share information with each other and this can become a slippery slope. Some larger and more popular email providers, such as Gmail, use multiple blacklists. been added I to a blacklist, there is still hope. Many spam Once Slter and blackdist providers, which will be referred to from here on out as The Spam-ish Inquisition, give you the option to plead your case and request to be removed from the list. On the first offense, more often than not, your request will be granted b behavior that gave them a red flag in the first place this blacklisting can become permanent. d but if you don't correct the If this happens, your IP address will be forever cast outside the fortress walls while everyone is having fun within. I blow my nose at you THE SPAM-ISH INQUISITION WHAT IS AN IP-BASED BLACKLIST? WHAT IS A DOMAIN-BASED BLACKLIST? A list of IP addresses from individual computers known to send spam, on a server from which spam has been sent, or from email providers that are known to allow spam to be sent from their These fine folks are the ones who determine what constitutes spam, which emails are filtered to junk folders, and what IP addresses and domains deserve a place in the black book. There are hundreds if not thousands of public email blacklists and spam filters out there on patrol but here is a list of some of the most A list of domains which are known or believed to appear within the body text of spam emails. Email providers using these blacklists will effectively block any emails coming in that include these domains amonly used domain. Email providers using these blacklists will etfectively block any emails coming in from any of these IP addresses. SPAM FILTERS SpamAssassin SpamBayes Аmavis BLACKLISTS BLACKLIST TYPE OF NAME BLACKLIST The Spamhaus Block List (SBL) IP-Based The SpamCop Block List (SCBL) IP-Based The Passive Spam Block List (PSBL) IP-Based Nobody Expects the Spam-ish Inquisition? Now, you will! •The Spamhaus Domain Block List (DBL) Domain-Based Uniform Resource Identifier Black List (URIBL) Domain-Based • Spam URI Realtime Blocklist (SURBL) Domain-Based THE MINISTRY OF HONORABLE EMAILING: THE DO'S AND DON'TS Now that you know a little bit more about the landscape of the email spam battlefield, you may think you need to be a member of The Ministry of Silly Walks to navigate it. It may be a frightening prospect that you can be falsely identified as a spammer, but don't let it keep you up at night. Here is a list of best practices to make sure you're behaving like the upstanding emailer you are: GOOD, BETTER AND BEST PRACTICES DO REGISTER WITH A WHITELIST DON'T HAVE ANY URGENCY DON'T USE CAPS ASIDE FROM MAKING When drafting your email, as tempting as it might be, avoid urgency. Using phrases like "act now" and before it's A whitelist is the exact opposite of a blacklist in that any IP address or domain on the list will always be allowed into any recipient's inbox whose email provider uses that particular whitelist. This prevents false positives from automatically sending your email to the spam folder. If accepted and if you don't maintain a positive email reputation, you run the risk of being thrown back out on the streets. IT LOOK LIKE YOU'RE SCREAMING AT THE RECEPIENT; THE USE OF CAPS LOCK IN THE SUBJECT too late" are commonplace in spam emails and will likely be treated as such; on top of this don't use multiple exclamation marks anywhere in your email! LINE OR BODY OF YOUR EMAIL CAN BE A RED FLAG FOR SPAM FILTERS. DON'T REFERENCE MONEY OR LOANS DO GET PERMISSION The very definition of spam includes the word "unsolicited," so common sense would dictate you should only email those who have knowingly signed up for your correspondence. For email marketers this may be a tall order, and yes, sometimes it's unavoidable but SOME POPULAR it is still important to keep in mind. The words income, money, cash, free, buy and even dollar Symbols can elicit the attention of the Spam-ish Inquisition and terms related to loans and financing will get you on a blacklist faster than you can WHITELISTS: The DNS Whitelist The Spamhaus Whitelist WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM ΤΟ ΑΝΝΟΥ You AND MAKE THINGS ay debt consolidation. DONT USE SPAMTASTIC WORDS OR THEMES Something to keep in mind is that spam filters are automated and can't read or see how specific words are used within the context of the email. GENERALLY IRRITATING FOR YOU. D0 CHANGE IT UP Change up your email template often. Spam filters and blacklists will notice you're sending out a lot of the same emails and Avoid spammy words and advertising phrases like 'marketing", "offer "guaranteed' and "click here". D0 USE DEFAULT FORMATTING will begin to suspect you're a spammer, or even worse, In order to attract your intended audience to the an automated robot spammer! Other themes to avoid: message you are trying to deliver, you may be inclined to "pretty up" your email. Don't. Just hold your horses and listen up: the fact of the matter is it's best to use plain text with default formatting in your emails. By drafting an email in a word processor and converting it t And now for something Anything related to adult or XXX content. completely different. Anything related to prescription drugs, pills, etc. to HTML, or using special colors or formatting options, you are voluntarily inviting turther attention and scrutiny from spam filters and blacklists. No one wants that. • Anything related to gambling, casinos, etc. DON'T USE PURCHASED LISTS By buying email lists, you are gathering a collection of email addresses that belong to recipients who probably don't know they agreed to have their email address DONT FORGET ТЕХT If you're sending out an image no matter how Đ0 TAKE IT SLOW Even if you have a well Alist ana y well-designed, concise and everything nice it is, it will immediately look like spam to a filter if you don't include any actual text. Without text in the email, and this plethora of pre-written emails, avoid sending them all at once. A wall of emails coming from your IP address to a single email provider within a short period of time is a surefire way to get you a reservation at the spam folder hotel or even blocked entirely. distributed and therefore will probably not be happy to receive your email. On top of this, these purchasable email lists are sometimes taken without the consent of the means typed text that isn't part of an image, a spam filter will see a lot of coding and no recipients and are therefore illegal! message. THE LAW REQUIRES What?! Yes, there are laws against spam that come from a higher power than the Spam-ish Inquisition and can have more severe repercussions than being blocked or sent to the spam folder. Learning the specifics of, and how to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act is highly recommended before embarking on an email marketing journey. Visit or speak with a lawyer to learn more but you can find a few important tidbits below. Well, you have to know these things when youre a king you know. DONT BE DECEPTIVE OR DECEITFUI This goes for your subject line, the headers within your email, and even your from-name and reply-to addresses. These tactics are usually meant to get the intended recepient to click on your email or click on a link within. Being honest will ensure you're attracting the people that will appreciate your message to begin with. ĐONT FORGET TO MENTION YOUR PURPOSE It your email is an advertisement, it's up to you to ensure it is clearly and concisely marked as one. DO PROVIDE AN UNSUBSCRIBE BUTTON If someone doesn't want to be a f your email list, make sure they have an easy way to opt-out with an "unsubscribe" button or link in your email. An unsubscribe link must remain active and work for at least 30 days following the sending of the email and once the user has selected to unsubscribe, the request must be honored within 10 days. DO INCLUDE YOUR ADDRESS cording to the act, your email must include your mailing or business address This must be a valid physical mailing address where you can be reached if your email's recipient so chooses. WHY DO YOU CARE?! Tis but a scratch! As an email marketer (or really anyone trying to get a message out to a large group of people) spam filters and blacklists can render your efforts useless. If your emails aren't making it to their intended destinations, you might as well not be sending any emails at all. In many cases, this damage to your email campaign is irreparable. IN CONCLUSION It's important to note that an email will not typically be flagged or blocked because of any one of these mentioned factors on their own. Some are considered worse than others but it is usually a combination of factors, which when added together, will decide the fate of your emails. Also, as you've learned, some spam filters and blacklists are more strict than others; so follow the rules and reach your audience! SPAM! SPAM! SPAM! SOURCES www.dnswlorg N NO V A STOR

A Very Monty Python Guide to Email Spam Filters and Blacklists

shared by Frankbates23 on Jun 18
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Whether you send emails as part of your job or simply someone who needs to send emails often, the cards are stacked against you. Spam filters and email blacklists are out there to stop spammers from c...





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