Oops: Gmail Spam Filter Changes Bite Linus Torvalds

As reported on Slashdot: "[After recent spam filter changes at Gmail, Linux inventor Linus] Torvalds said his own experience [is] that around 30 per cent of the mail in his spam box turned out not to be spam."

I see lots of false positives in my own mailboxes as well, but I don't think it's really Google's fault. I'm on various lists talking about email authentication, DMARC, and so forth. Those discussions bring a lot of IT folks who often first implement DMARC in a way that practically begs Google to treat their mail more suspiciously. And a few of the lists are managed with outdated list management tools, that have yet to be updated to play nice with DMARC.

So I know I'm an edge case. I wonder if the same can be said of Linus Torvalds.

1,072,835 Page views!

I registered the domain spamresource.com on December 31, 2000 and in the year 2001 first used it as a platform to publish my thoughts and opinions on spam-related topics (hand coding the HTML all along the way).

Throughout 2004 and 2005, I also used the domain name to house an online software store. My employer at the time had a contest to see who could generate the most online sales from their own external websites, and I ended up winning one of the prizes. It wasn't about to make me rich any time soon, but it was a fun experiment in online sales and I made a nice amount of pocket money for a time. (Without engaging in unethical SEO tricks or spam or anything like that.)

In August 2006, I moved Spam Resource over to Google's Blogger platform (and was able to transition many of the prior posts over, to keep a good sense of history going).

Google's Blogger dashboard for Spam Resource says there have been 1,072,835 page views for all time. Let's assume that means that many page views since it went live on Blogger in 2006. That's probably not a lot compared to so many of the bigger sites out there, but it feels like a lot to me.

I'm sad to have missed the one millionth page view, which probably slipped on by sometime earlier this year. But I'm happy to have made it to and beyond this milestone and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has read, linked to, or commented on my blog throughout the years. I appreciate you and I thank you.

Domain Registration Privacy: Another View

Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jeremy Malcolm and Mitch Stoltz published an article yesterday quite reasonably expressing concern over a proposal in front of ICANN that would limit use of "domains by proxy"-style WHOIS privacy for domain registration services.

It's a concern I can understand. My wife, a feminist author who has been "lucky" enough to only occasionally have message board threads calling her horrible names (and so far has avoided some of the more intense harassment leveled at other women online) and I have watched other people, often women, get doxxed and harassed in horrible ways and I totally agree that for a lot of people, it is entirely reasonable to not want to put your home address on a domain registration and have it visible to the whole world.

I'm not against online anonymity. I just also see the other side of it, misuse of these tools by bad actors. Consider the following.

Return Path adds AOL to list of certification-enabled ISPs

Today, Return Path announced that AOL has joined the Return Path Certification Program.

Return Path now names "AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, Comcast, Cox, Cloudmark, Yandex, Mail.ru, Orange, Spamassassin and SpamCop" as ISPs providing value to certified senders, along with "hundreds of others, including key international domains."

Having trouble delivering mail to AOL? Now you can add "look into Return Path Certification" to the list of things to investigate to help improve your inbox rate there.

(No word on whether or not Verizon's recently completed acquisition of AOL will have any impact with regard to certification. If I were a betting man, though, I'd put my money on AOL's mail platform becoming the dominant one in this merger.)

DMARC and mailing lists: We survived!

It's been a little over a year since Yahoo and AOL implemented restrictive "p=reject" DMARC policies, saying you essentially aren't allowed to use their domains outside of their infrastructure. Death to mailing lists was predicted; but what seems to have actually happened is, popular mailing list software was updated to handle the new way of things. Google Groups and Yahoo Groups were quickly updated to handle mailing list posts from users at DMARC-restrictive domains. Mailman version 2 was updated at about the same time.

On Sweating the Small Stuff

Over on the Return Path blog, Scott Roth reminds us why it's so important to remember the fundamentals. Great case study for Dillard's, one of my favorite department stores.

Return Path: When is it OK to Use a Shared IP Address?

Return Path's Tom Sather explains when it's OK to use a shared IP address. Basically, when your volume is very low. He suggests that the cutoff be 50,000 messages a month -- below that level, you should be on a shared IP address. Above that, a dedicated IP address is recommended. I personally think there's some flexibility there, but overall, you do have to draw a line somewhere, and it's pretty good guidance. (I usually recommend that senders mailing to more than 100,000 recipients per month utilize a dedicated IP address.)

The one obvious question that I think goes along with this is, when is it NOT okay to use a shared IP address or shared IP address pool? Here are three scenarios where I think it is truly NOT okay to use a shared IP address or shared IP address pool.

ESPs and Purchased Lists

Over on her Word to the Wise blog, Laura Atkins shares a wonderful list of links to almost every email service provider's policy prohibiting use of bought lists or purchased email addresses.

It's funny, working in this business.

DeliverNow: New Filters @ Orange, SFR, Laposte

According to France-based Deliverability monitoring company DeliverNow, French ISPs Orange, SFR, and Laposte.net have deployed a new spam filtering mechanism powered by Vade Retro.

Sending mail over IPv6? Authenticate!

Josh over at Word to the Wise explains that as Microsoft brings live IPv6 support for its Office365/Exchange Online Protection email platforms, they're mandating that all mail sent over IPv6 must authenticate with either Sender Policy Framework (SPF) or DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). Unauthenticated mail will be rejected. Read more about it here.

Domains clear.net and clearwire.net have been retired

If you're trying to send mail to subscribers at clear.net or clearwire.net today, you'll notice that all delivery attempts are being rejected, because wireless data provider Clearwire has retired all email services as of April 15, 2015.

Once upon a time, Sprint was the biggest investor in Clearwire, and Sprint's 4G data service was provided over the Clear WiMAX network. Sprint fully acquired Clearwire in 2013, and announced that it would be shutting down the Clear network sometime in 2015. It stands to reason that this email domain retirement is likely related to that overall acquisition and service shutdown.

I was not able to find any information related to the transition of clear.net or clearwire.net subscribers to other domains.

Outlook.com Deliverability Support Form

Lots of folks seem to have an outdated bookmark (or have found an outdated link) for the Outlook.com (aka Microsoft Hotmail) deliverability assistance request form.

Here's the correct link (as of June 2015):

For information on how to troubleshoot deliverability issues when sending to Outlook.com, visit the Outlook.com Postmaster website. Their Troubleshooting page may be of particular interest.

More Jobs @ the Litmus Job Board

Looking for other, non-deliverability related email jobs? Check out the Litmus Job Board.