Jan 31, 2009

Gmail issues with the Spam filter today

There has been a problem with Google's maleware filter today, as stated on the Official Gmail Blog. This issue impacted google's search results, identifying each and every search result as a potential threat for your computer.
Since this maleware filter is part of the highly confidential Gmail Spam filter, along with other tools, some legitimate emails are likely to have been transfered to the Spam box of Gmail users.

The emails concerned with this issue are emails received between 6:00 a.m. PST and 8:00 a.m. PST (between 2:00 p.m. GMT and 4:00 p.m GMT)

Gmail announced a roll back on these emails that should hit back the inbox in the next day or so.

Jan 28, 2009

The McColo Effect

2009 now started, it's time for 2008's analysis.
In the email business, one of the main 2008 events was the McColo takedown.
McColo was one of the main (if not THE main) ISP for malware and botnet.
This company was closed down by the two upstream providers.

One of the immediate effect of this takedown: Spam in the world suddenly dropped... by 70%.

A very nice article was recently posted on the Official Google Enterprise Blog dealing with this takedown and it's expected an unexpected impact on 2008 Spam volume and types:
2008: The year in spam

The EmailReg.org project.

I would like to take a moment to talk about the EmailReg.org project.

This project's goal is to create some safe list of Domains/IPs.
The main differences with existing whitelisting solutions are the fact it's pretty not expensive and that it lists the couple Domain/IPs.

The point is to take responsibility for emails sent from your IPs. By associating (on demand from the domain owner) the domain and sending IPs, they hope to get rid of false positives (legitimate emails filtered as spam).
The goal is to make it simple for spam filters to check incoming emails:
If the Domain and IP match the EmailReg safe list, then the email has to be considered as legitimate and bypass the Spam filters.
Should these emails trigger user complaints, then you'll simply be removed from the safe list until you solve the issue.

This safe list (the RESL as Registered Email Sender List) can be quite simply queried either by spam filtering solutions or by end users.

One good point about this safe list, is that it's not a pay according to the sent volume solution, you only pay on the Domain registration process ($20 per Domain).

Another good thing is that among the Spam Filtering Solutions using this tool, there is barracuda.

On the broadcaster side "all" you have to do is to minimize the number of complaints and of course update your anti-virus solution once in a while to make sure you never turn into a "Zombie PC" sending Spam all around the world.

The requirements to register a Domain/IPs are the following:
- You have to prove domain ownership by adjusting your DNS as instructed.
- Your domain must be properly registered in the WHOIS database
- You must be willing to provide real contact information
- You need to be willing to take responsibility for all email coming from your IP addresses with your domain on it.
- Pay the Registration fee (currently $20.00) for the domain.
- Your domain must be registered at least 6 months and have a history of sending email.

I haven't tested this solution yet, but will definitely push my company to do so.

If you have any experience on this solution and either successful or not, please feel free to comment.

More info and registration available on the EmailReg.org website

Jan 21, 2009

Yahoo! Mail feedback loop released today !

The news was released yesterday:

Yahoo! 's feedback loop is back in business after several months being shut down.

This FBL is now operated by ReturnPath.

Returnpath states in yesterday's press release that this is the first step in integrating Yahoo! to the Senderscore Certified program.

You can register for the service here

As stated on the newsletter sent yesterday by Returnpath:
Return Path now provides email feedback loops for more than 60 percent of the largest internet service providers including Comcast, Cox, USA.net, and Mailtrust.

I edited my FBL list accordingly.

Jan 18, 2009

How can Madrid reach the inbox?

I was in Madrid last week and I went to a deliverability conference in which someone from hotmail, yahoo and gmail talked about how they filter spam and how marketers can make it to the inbox.

To be quite honest, nothing really came as a surprise to me but the way in which they presented the story was quite interesting and they did give out a few interesting tips.

To put it in a nut shell, here is what was said:

- Who is sending the message?
Along with the technical stuff such as the senderID, the DomainKey, having a revers DNS pointing correctly, they insisted on the importance of mentioning clearly the sender in the sender name and address.

- What is the message you are sending?
Nothing really new here, basically you need to comply with all email standards, make sure your email is not 100% HTML, put in the email footer your postal address,...

- Who are you sending to?
Watch out who you are sending to: always check your email addresses truly want to register (double optin is the key), make sure you do not trigger to many spam traps/hardbounces.
Make optout as easy as the optin.

- If 4xx bounces can be retried (after a short while), 5xx error messages shouldn't be retried in any case.
- Don't hesitate to ask you users to add your sending address to their contact list AND to mark your emails as "wanted", these requests are almost as important in the balance as the spam complaints are.
- Send on a regular basis. Whether you broadcast daily or weekly, you should always prefer to send on given moments. If you send every week on monday, your reputation will build up quicker than if you broadcast on a random manner.

Jan 12, 2009

Spam filtering solutions list

Those of you that often read this blog (and I thank you for that) know I made a couple of listings.

The latest is now released, it's a list of Spam filtering solutions (hardware and software) available on the market.

It's not an exhaustive list of course, but what I reckon are the main ones.

If you see anything missing on this list, please feel free to comment on this post.

The list is available here.

Jan 9, 2009

Lycos europe closing down's impact on email marketing

As most of you know by know, Lycos Europe is closing down.
Among other activities, they host some freemail domains.

Rumors are that some companies might buy these domains and continue the email support but nothing is official yet.

In the mean time, registrations have been closed on these domains.

The domains endangered are:
caramail.fr, caramail.com
jubii.co.uk, jubii.com, jubii.fr, jubii.de, jubiimail.de, jubiiconnect.dk, jubii.dk, jubii.nl, jubii.es, jubii.it
lycos.co.uk, lycos.fr, lycos.de, lycos.at, lycos.es, lycos.it, lycos.nl

Jan 7, 2009

Sales !

One thing the economic crunch induced is probably the biggest sales expectations I've ever seen.
Back when I was in the UK a couple of weeks ago, a lot of (not to say most of) shops displayed outstanding 50% off on their windows.
People were saying this year's sales period would probably see bargains up to -80%!

In France, the legal sales period (only time of year when shops and retailers are allowed to sell items at prices bellow the actual cost of it) started this morning, I of course received plenty of emails from all the lists I'm subscribed to and the bargains all look very aggressive for a first week.

Source: metrofrance.com
Opinion Way released yesterday a study for Sarenza.com stating that the average budget for the sales period in France this winter is 271 euros.

Last year the first day of the winter sales on e-commerce websites saw a 32% of revenue increase compared to the previous year.

Let's all guess that in this period of uncertainty and costs saving, email marketing will probably be the key to success in the 2009 sales war.

Jan 2, 2009

Where does Spam come from?

I made a simple study on the last months to see where spam might come from (I'm talking here about real Spam like pills and fake software).

I created 4 email addresses:
1 - An address only subscribed to CNN daily news
2 - An address only subscribed to CNN daily news & a couple of adult websites
3 - An address only subscribed to CNN daily news & posted on this website
4 - An address subscribed to CNN daily news & the same adult websites and posted at the same time on this website.

What turned out was that only addresses 3 and 4 got spammed and they received exactly the same Spam messages - this clearly indicates the reason for being spammed is the same.

One thing that I know but failed to demonstrate on this test is that a lot of spam also comes from your contacts that have their email address hijacked.

The great surprise came from the fact that no Spam was ever sent on the emails used to register on adult websites.

The email addresses posted on this blog received spams in the days following the post and now have a ratio of 28% (38 out of 98) of spam.

Conclusion is :
You probably can have a Spam free email if you never post it anywhere and don't give it to anyone.

Maybe that could be a good resolution for 2009 ;-)

Happy New Year

Hello I wish you all a very happy year 2009, I wish you success in all your projects.
Let's have a year like no other and leave the economic crunch behind us.