Spam algorithms are constantly changing in an arms’ race against spammers. Annoying e-mails about “miracle vitamins” are only the tip of the spam iceberg. The algorithms (processes or sets of rules followed in calculations, usually by a computer) to fight against each oncoming wave of spam have to adapt as the spam adapts. As hard as companies work to combat spam, the spammers work just as hard to find new ways around the algorithms. And sometimes your e-mails can get caught in the crossfire.
Even when your e-mails have gone through to others’ inboxes before and contain little to no marketing, your messages can still end up caught in the spam filter. So how does this happen?
Spam algorithms are updated on a pretty constant basis, specifically so things that have slipped through them before won’t continue doing that. But the spam filter settings for some recipient servers can also be more aggressive than others.
Many major providers judge the spam factor of your e-mail based on engagement between you and the recipient. If they immediately delete your e-mails or mark them as spam, the engagement score is going to be very poor compared to recipients who regularly respond and click through links, and your engagement score with those recipients can affect your message going through to other recipients using the same service.
These providers keep track of the behavior sent by specific ISPs and domains. So it isn’t just your e-mails’ engagement that affects your outgoing messages; e-mails going out from other accounts on the same domain or ISP will affect this as well.
Other providers also employ a spam score system to figure out how likely it is that your e-mail is spam based on the content. If your e-mail surpasses a certain level, then your e-mail is sent off to that junk folder. This systems looks for phrases like “money back guarantee” and “click here now” that are used frequently in spam e-mails.
These spam systems also share what they’ve learned with each other. Blacklists are often shared or posted.
Spam algorithms that catch e-mails will always be changing. This is one arms’ race that will not end, but you don’t have to be a victim of spam filters. If your clients are finding your e-mails in their spam folder, ask them to add your domain to their safe senders list. This should ensure that your e-mails get through to them in the future. If your domain has been blacklisted, you should contact the administrator and request that your domain be whitelisted. You’ll have to follow the protocol in place by that administrator, but if you have an IT company or department, they should handle that for you.
Michael Bearchell lives with his wife and three children in Gwinnett County. He is an Inside Support Technician at Rocket IT and has found out the hard way that it is tough being a New York sports fan in the south.
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