Friday, March 24, 2006

Bouncing emails and spam blacklists

Earlier this afternoon, I sent out invites to the next Secret Society party taking place on Tuesday. (You're welcome to come. Drop on by.) A couple things struck me during the course of this exercise.

My first question was, why do people give us bogus names and email addresses? The registration form specifically states that registration is optional and has a big button labeled "skip it." We're trying to be as courteous as we can here. Please do the same and either give us real data so we can keep in touch, or skip right on through if that bothers you. We only want to communicate with people who want to hear from us.

The next issue was handling all the bounces. Quite a few of the bounces were because of various mail servers using spam blacklists. It turns out that the particular address block in which our mail server resides was once home to a big spam company. Grumble. Of course the spamming company is long gone, but we're still suffering. We'll work with our ISP to get things moved around and try to get off the various blacklists, but it's really painful. In the era of great Bayesian filtering, it amazes me to no end that people still use blacklists as a binary spam test. I mean, sure it should be an input to the Bayesian filter, but it's just one input. This isn't the first time I have had this problem happen to me. Previous companies encountered the same thing.

Such is life in a new small company...

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