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Thread: False positives on spam filters

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    False positives on spam filters

    False positives on spam filters are driving me nuts. It gets even better when they bounce your message and don't tell you why.

    I get this from Content-filter at spamwall19.mweb.co.za (I'm tempted to include their email address so that they can really get spammed):

    A message from <my email address> to:
    -> client@ens.mweb.co.za
    -> client@yebo.co.za

    was considered unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE).

    Our internal reference code for your message is (series of numbers)

    The message carried your return address, so it was either a genuine mail from you, or a sender address was faked and your e-mail address abused by third party, in which case we apologize for undesired notification.

    We do try to minimize backscatter for more prominent cases of UBE and for infected mail, but for less obvious cases of UBE some balance between losing genuine mail and sending undesired backscatter is sought, and there can be some collateral damage on both sides.

    First upstream SMTP client IP address: [196.25.240.74] ctb-mesg4.saix.net
    No Spam Assasin type report as to how you offended the system - nutting.

    I've run over the header report and it is as plain as day the message was generated by Outlook, not a bulk mailer. The originating IP address is in the block range of my SPF record. So what was the problem?

    Is this what they mean when saying an SPF record is a problem with mail forwarders? Because in this case the mail to yebo (which is what was provided by the client) was forwarded to mweb. Now I can't control that - from my end how the heck can I even see it coming?

    And of course the client is ticked off that the email hasn't gone through. And is not accepting that it is their email service that is the problem!

    Last edited by Dave A; 28-Oct-08 at 02:50 PM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  2. #2
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be great it we could convince all our customers to receive messages, updates and so on via feeds (RSS, atom)?

    The great thing about a feed is that the permission is built in, as their feed reader fetches the info from you, and it is as simple as one click to opt out. I think the reason most spam direct marketers prefer email is that it offers them more information about their clients (and therefore control). Why not give the control back to your clients?

    (not necessarily directed at you Dave, just a general comment on the state of email marketing and the adoption of RSS)
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    RSS can't replace email in this case. You can't send direct one-on-one communication via RSS. I was sent a photo for insect ID and replied with the ID (with a CC to a fellow member of staff) - as simple as that.

    I'm still waiting for Mweb's response to my query as to the cause of the bounce.

    A little irony - Mweb's bounce mail ended up in my Junk email folder courtesy of Outlooks methodology.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    RSS can't replace email in this case. You can't send direct one-on-one communication via RSS.
    Yet, but imagine if it did. We even have some real world examples of something similar - Facebook (or Skype, or Gtalk, etc.) You can only communicate with someone once you are on their whitelist (or their "Friend" in Facebook's case). Also, each user is effectively authenticated. Don't like the messages you are receiving from someone - take them off your friendlist.

    The tools are getting more sophisticated and so are the users. We'll probably be stuck with email forever, but it might not remain our primary way to communicate.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    It would go some way if an email address was automatically added to your whitelist when you send an email to it. But taken to its full conclusion you still end up with something of a chicken and egg scenario - the email doesn't get through because the person you're sending it to doesn't have you on their whitelist yet. And that sort of whitelisting doesn't solve the forgery problem.

    That is the idea behind SPF and domain keys - to identify forgeries. It just seems some mail server programs haven't been "trained up" as to how to use SPF properly yet - which seems to be the case in my current gripe.

    Still no response from Mweb
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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