November 30, 2011

Is Your Ezine Being Zapped? by Michael Southon

About a year ago I wrote an article titled 'Winning The War On Sp^m'. Unfortunately, the war on sp^m is not being won at all. In fact, the problem is now so serious that sp^am is shaping upto be the greatest threat to online marketing.
The threat comes not from sp^mmers themselves, but from the
filters that are being used to block them.
These filters are hitting hard at the very core of ecommerce -
Ezine Publishing.
Anti-sp^m filters operate at two levels: (i) client-side
programs that reside on individual computers and (ii)
server-side programs that ISPs are using to block incoming sp^m.
The problem is that the filters are now so sensitive they are
blocking even the most innocent of Newsletters.
For example, if your Newsletter contains the words 'remove',
'unsubscribe' or 'click here' it will trigger anti-sp^m filters
in many of the programs that are now being used by ISPs.
The result?
Your Ezine is zapped, deleted - and a large percentage of your
subscribers will think you have stopped publishing your
What can you do about it?
Here are some tips to avoid sp^m filters:
(1) Post your Newsletter online and then email your subscribers
to tell them that the latest issue is now available online.
(2) In your Newsletter carefully avoid (both in the subject line
and the body text) all words that are likely to trigger
anti-sp^m filters. Use the free service listed at the end of
this article - it will flag any words in your Newsletter that
trigger anti-sp^m filters.
(3) Instead of saying 'to unsubscribe' (which is a phrase
commonly found in sp^m), say 'If you no longer wish to
receive...' or 'If you wish to leave this mailing list...' or
'To take yourself off this list...'
(4) If there are trigger words that you simply cannot avoid, you
can disguise them using carets (^) or other symbols. The 'F'
word would become fr^e and the 'U' word would become
(5) Include the word 'Newsletter' in the subject line of your
email - this will help the filters identify your email as
(6) Avoid whole words in upper case. In many Newsletters the
headers are capitalized - this will trigger the filters.
(7) If your Newsletter contains ads, scrutinize them carefully -
ezine ads, by definition, contain words frequently used by
Here is a fr^e service that will help you avoid sp^m filters.
Before you mail out your Newsletter, just send a copy of it to
the email address below with TEST in the subject line:
mailto:[email protected]
Within a few seconds you'll receive a report that analyses your
Newsletter and gives you a score (0 to 5=no problems 12-16=over
the limit for most ISPs).
If you write articles, it's worth submitting them to this test
as well, together with your Resource Box (I just sent this
article to Sp^mCheck and got a score of 4.6).
Sp^mCheck is operated by Sp^mAssassin, a filter that is widely
used by ISPs - so this is a good test of whether your Newsletter
will get through to your subscribers.

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