Spam Filters Uncovered

Lance Hemenway Blog, Delivery

What is the number one challenge in sending email? Most email deployment teams would quickly tell you that, by far their biggest struggle is to get their emails into the inbox. Each domain has different mechanics that determine which pieces of email will be accepted in general, let alone whether it will ever actually be delivered to an inbox or not. Even worse are domains that accept mail and then drop it on the floor, not delivering it to any box, junk or otherwise, for the user. It’s enough to give any dedicated mailer a major headache each and every time they come into work. But all is not lost. There still exists some ways to reach the fabled inbox. Ways that I will gladly now pass onto you. But let’s start at the beginning, with the stalwart keepers of the gate. Let’s learn how spam filters work.

What most deployments teams don’t know is how these email unsolicited filters work. Their mysterious ways are actually a very closely guarded secret. If their inner workings were to become public information, they could easily fall victim to reverse engineering. But wait— I’m sorry, they actually are published. You see large organizations protect their propriety information through patents, and these patents are publicity available. Does that means that Yahoo, Microsoft, Gmail etc., try to protect themselves by publishing detailed information about how not to protect themselves?

In short… Yes.

With a small amount of effort, any mailer can read these patents, and swiftly determine exactly what activities trigger these dreaded spam filters. Understanding the ins and outs of a mousetrap, no matter how complicated, can help an individual to not get their finger caught in one. And while it is a necessary evil that forces these domains to go to such extremes to keep spam out, it is an unfortunate side effect that legitimate mailers are often swept up in the same net.

So ultimately, the goal is to continue your above-board activities in a knowledgeable manner that doesn’t cause your email to accidentally become labeled as “Spam.” Knowing what sets the filters off will enable you to avoid these triggers and help you to get your precious email to the glorious inbox once and for all. So study these patents. Take time to understand the mousetrap and its most complicated inner workers. Read, digest, test, and most importantly… Learn.

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About the Author
Lance Hemenway

Lance Hemenway

Lance is the AdStation Director of Marketing. He's an internet veteran who was a founding member of Intermix Media, the parent company of Lance serves on the boards of the Bureau of Internet Accessibility and Think Big Kansas City. He's based at the Kansas City headquarters.