SPAM Filters and eMail Etiquette

I just had what turned out to be a critical message from a new acquaintence get lost in my spam filter. There were at least three possible “triggers” that caused me to miss this eMail:

1. The return address has no identifier other than a single first name
2. The subject line was a single innocuous word that was virtually impossible to decode without opening the eMail
3. The eMail was an HTML eMail.

So, in my OutLook Inbox, (if it had gotten there)…the message would have looked like:

Sender

Subject

Received

Sent

Larry

TurtleDoveExploits

2/06/2006

2/06/2006

Ok, so the spam filter put this in the spam folder, and I looked at it… and debated whether to open it. Because, if you open up an eMail that is so-called “html” eMail, you can trigger further spam, or get a trojan or virus.
The good news is that I opened it, and it was from somebody I wanted to hear from. The bad news was the message was indeed an html message. Nice background stationary, lovely fonts…logo, and everything.

Suggestions:
Here are a couple suggestions from someone who gets a couple dozen eMails a day, and sometimes many more.

  1. Send mail as plain text, no background, no stationary. In OutLook this means not Rich Text, and not HTML mail.
  2. Be sure that your eMail is properly set up with complete first and last name, or company name in the sender’s name section of your eMail account properties. Send an eMail to yourself and see what it looks like, and if the eMail isn’t readily identifiable from the subject line, I guarantee that a lot of your eMail is going into the bit bucket, unread.
  3. Use subject lines that mean something. Refer to a previous communication, or to a relevant topic within the body of your eMail.

Maybe something like:

Sender

Subject

Received

Sent

U.S. Internal Revenue Service Kansas City Office

2005 Corporate 4th Quarter Tax Assessment

2/06/2006

2/06/2006
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