Did you catch that?

Good ISP info from Annalivia Ford, Christine Borgia, and Laura Atkins.

Annalivia Ford: Why is my window fogged up? Annalivia talks about how ISPs actually tend to be less transparent in their spam filtering processes than in years past. Why? Because the edge case and bad guy senders have ruined it for everyone else. Because if an ISP publishes an X% rate (of something) as the cut-off for being filtered, then the edge case and bad guy senders will simply "tune" what they're doing to stay at a tenth of a point under X%. See the problem there? It doesn't actually have anything to do with permission -- a lot of senders just try to fudge the stats to stay under the threshold, instead of focusing on actual permission.

Christine Borgia: Permission vs. Request. Reading inbetween the lines, AOL Postmaster Christine Borgia of AOL seems to be saying that she's fed up with iffy senders thinking they can get away with bad sending just because it's legal. If that isn't a hint that ISPs are fed up with people trying to skirt around permission and best practices, I don't know what is. Since when did legal equate with best practice? (Or even with permission? Spam is legal, foolios. So is spam blocking. Try harder -- stop doing the bare minimum of what's required, if you expect to get to the inbox. If legal is the best you can do, eventually, as Christine suggests, the ISPs are going catch on and treat your mail as the unwanted garbage it actually may be.)

Laura Atkins: Legitimate Marketers Need to Take a Stand. Laura Atkins has been talking about this for a while now. It boils down to, when are marketers going to stop waiting for somebody else to tell them what the rules are? When are they going to step it up, take responsibility for their own actions?

This all ties in to my recent thoughts on the whole concept of email service providers and marketers repeatedly asking for ISPs to tell them what the rules are. I run into people who say stuff like this all the time: "We just need the ISPs to tell us what the rules are, and we'll stick to them." Except, ISPs have been telling you what the rules are for years now. Stop feigning deafness. I wish I had a dollar for every time an IP address got blocked at (big ISP) and somebody asked me, "can't we just assign another IP address?" instead of showing any desire toward fixing the problem that caused the block.

Think about that scenario a little further. An ISP blocks you for spamming. Your response is, how can I sidestep this, not how can I fix it? Are you an idiot? How do you expect an ISP to take you seriously?

A blocked IP address is that ISP telling you exactly what the rules are. Clean the fuzz out of your ears and start listening.


  1. Hey Al - Matt Verhout also had a great rant about The Industry taking a stand against crappy mailers over here: http://www.emailkarma.net/2009/12/giving-email-black-eye.html


Comments policy: Al is always right. Kidding, mostly. Be polite, and you're welcome to join in, even if it's a differing viewpoint.