Ask Al: Not Receiving any emails!

Tami writes, "I've got a bit of a different problem than most. I own a small business and am afraid when people are emailing me to enter my 'Gift Box Drawing' that their emails aren't making it to me. I get absolutely nothing in my Norton anti-spam folder in Outlook Express. How do I get the messages so I can decide if I want to delete them or not?"

Tami, thanks for your excellent question! I don't personally use Norton's anti-spam solution, but I can offer up a few alternatives. There are ways you could handle the submission/signup process where spam filters won't be able to get in the way:
  • Perhaps the absolutely easiest thing you could do here is create a Gmail account. Gmail is the webmail least likely to block legitimate email, from my personal experience. Other webmails do pretty well trying to block only spam, but sometimes regular joes get caught up in spam filters, and legitimate mail ends up rejected. Since Gmail rarely actually blocks spam, relegating it to the spam folder instead, I think your chances of missing out on a legitimate drawing entry are greatly reduced.
  • You mention that these are people signing up for your drawing. Are you working with an email service provider (ESP) to manage your lists, enabling you to contact those people later? If so, ask your ESP for help. Most ESPs have tools that will let you create signup pages that they or you can host. On that signup page you create, people can submit their contact information and sign up for your drawing and your email list. That data goes directly into your list database at your ESP, and there's no spam filters involved at all.
  • Or, look at how you emailed me here today. I have a Google Profile page set up, a free Google widget that lets people contact me without me having to give out my email address. Helps me get every legit submission I want, but it keeps me spam free. I love it.
I hope that helps to give you some ideas, and good luck with your drawing!

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