Sympatico Spam Filters Out of Control

Assiduous Reader PB informs me:

Totally irrelevant, but your reply got caught in the spam filter that the Microsoft mail servers curse Bell Sympatico users with. It has become wildly over-aggressive of late, and there is no way to turn the !@#$% thing off. I have to visit their webmail site periodically and retrieve missing messages before they get flushed.

That was a normal reply to his eMail, sent without attachments.

Sympatico users are urged to contact the company and complain; this has highly annoying repercussions on the distribution of PrefLetter.

Additionally, subscribers should add the two eMail addresses used for distribution, jiHymas@himivest.com and jiHymas@prefLetter.com to their Sympatico on-line list of “Trusted Senders”.

Update: Assiduous Reader NS comments:

I think you can turn the sympatico email filter off for a particular email address / domain. It’s just not easy for non-tech types.

1. They’ve got to login to webmail.
2. Select “Options”, then “More options”
3. Select “safe and blocked senders”
4. Select “safe senders”
5. Add the email address you use to send out the letters to the safe senders list.

They may also have a separate spam filter on their local machine (i.e. via the email reader / antivirus) that also has to be trained properly.

The anti-spam stuff is frustrating for legit businesses. 🙁

Yes, it is frustrating for legit businesses – especially since the spam problem is so easy to fix: Sending an eMail should cost a penny. Receiving an eMail should earn a penny. ISPs should neither pay nor collect amounts of less than $10/month.

Normal users will never notice this, since they will rarely send 1,000 more eMails than they receive. Malware can be guarded against by setting an account limit: requre specific authorization once X emails have been sent. X is set separately by the client (so they don’t have to pay a huge amount by surprise) and by the ISP (as part of their credit policy). The counters get reset to zero monthly. eMails sent in excess of either limit get bounced back with a message.

Is Very Nice ISP transmitting 10-million eMails from Nigerian Spam ISP Inc.? They’ll bill NSISP $100,000 and pay it when the eMails are forwarded along the Internet backbone. NSISP didn’t pay? Well, golly, VNISP has gone bankrupt, and good riddance.

There were thoughts of something along these lines at one point, but the boohoohoo brigade insisted that everything about the Internet should be free. HIPPIES RUINED THE INTERNET!

Update: Assiduous Reader PB comes back with:

Thanks for the tip. It turns out that marking mail as “not junk” in the webmail spam folder automatically populates the safe sender list and when I checked, your email address was already in the safe list.

Update, 2010-4-29: Most readers will be sheltered behind ISP, corporate, or home-made spam filters and may have no real idea of just how much spam there is. I have several domains, and all of them forward all eMail to my single eMail account. There’s no filtering, because I have a horror of filtering out a genuine communication from a genuine prospect (note to geeks: yes, I could probably do this better. But I don’t.). In the last week, I have deleted 3,169 spam eMails.

20 Responses to “Sympatico Spam Filters Out of Control”

  1. adrian2 says:

    Nice idea with a penny earned vs. a penny spent.

    Here is an example where it would not work as I assume you’ve intended it to:

    My wife subscribes to a few yahoo groups lists where members communicate via emails distributed among them. Say there are 100 members and she writes 10 messages a day, that is 300 messages per month. The issue is the carbon copy feature: she may send 300 distinct messages, times 100 members it’s 30k pennies or $300 payable, minus $3 receivable for the messages received from herself. Meanwhile, somebody who does not write at all for a month receives pennies from everybody, kind of like a “leech” in bit torrent terminology.

    Adrian

  2. jiHymas says:

    There will always be problems – all I can suggest is that group lists like that will be strongly encouraged by market forces to become fora.

    I will point out that she is sending 30,000 messages; your calculation of her amount receivable implies that nobody else is posting in the group. If everybody else in the group posts as much as her, then the amounts will wash and everybody will be happy.

    I can also forsee problems with signing up for eMail distribution lists – there will always be some sharpie who signs up for as many as possible to receive lots of eMail; businesses will have to prune their lists more carefully, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    And there will always be people who sign up for many eMail accounts so they can send 999 messages to a receiving account … but this will only be a problem with free eMail services who may have to restrict the number of (free) eMails sent or charge a fee – again, not necessarily a bad thing.

    But mainly, I suggest that spam is a major problem and my solution is better than any other approach. I dislike the legislative approaches, making spam illegal and so on, partly because it doesn’t work all that well and partly because legislation is an awfully big stick to use for a problem that can be solved with simple market forces.

  3. jiHymas says:

    If everybody else in the group posts as much as her, then the amounts will wash and everybody will be happy.

    Actually, no, this doesn’t work. The outgoing eMails will be charged to the list server’s account at its ISP, not to the user’s account at the user’s ISP.

    So one implication of my proposal is that the free public list-server is dead.

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