I am a sender of legitimate email. How can I ensure this gets through to a mail filtering service user?

The following guidelines will help you to get your message through to service customers.

There are several checks you can perform to ensure your email has the best chance of passing smoothly through the system: -

  • Your sending machine may be an email server (LAN users) or a single PC (home users). Your connection to the internet has a public IP address. Sometimes this address gets a bad reputation and ends up on an Internet 'block list'. You can check if your address is on a block list by going to some handy lookup sites such as http://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx
  • Your email machine may be an 'Open Relay' and vulnerable to unauthorized use by hackers and spammers. Check this at http://mxtoolbox.com/diagnostic.aspx
  • If you are using a service that is shared with other users such as home broadband or cable Internet, you may find that all of the addresses used by your ISP are blocked 'en masse'. Your ISP will have an upstream mail relay that you should use as the method for sending mail. This is typically termed 'SMTP relay' in your mail configuration. Ensure you use this option.
  • The pre-filters are sensitive to the content of your mail and will reject email if there is certain known spam content.
  • Ensure your email does not have 'spammy' content such as references to medications or low cost jewelry etc.
  • Avoid forwarding email from senders that may have been badly classified as their email footer may be enough to identify the email as coming from a known spam source.
  • If your email is rejected because it is a forwarded email from a bad sender, try copying the content into a fresh email and perhaps send as 'plain text'.
  • Certain URL's (web links) have been classified as inappropriate or have been used by spammers. If your email contains these, and you are sure you want to send them, you should obfuscate the address to avoid it being recognized by the filter.
  • Other issues that may affect your ability to send mail include a poorly configured mail server on your network, or virus infected machines on your network. If you do find a virus on your network, this may prevent the service from delivering your email and if the virus is a robot used by spammers, your public IP address is probably on a block list.
  • Your web site may also be used by spammers and give your company a bad reputation and get your mail servers blocked. Check the security of web forms to ensure they can not be used to send spam email. Your web designer should be able to advise you on these issues.