“Can you stop the spam?”
I get this question lots from clients. Their business email is getting impossible to read because there are too many spam emails cluttering up their inbox. The Nigerian princes, good Christian widows, Russian brides, body part enlargers and others of their ilk are crowding out legitimate business emails.
Yes, you can try to use spam filters on your computer. Sometimes they work. But the battle should be fought at your mail server before it reaches your inbox.
How do you fight spam at the mail server level? You can log in to your cpanel and increase your spam filter level. You can complain to your email host.
I’ve been finding a lot of the bargain basement mail and domain hosts really scrimp on their spam filtering. After I moved clients to a better host most of their spam goes away.
Besides the inbox deluge businesses are getting caught in spam war crossfire in another way. Their legitimate business emails are being labelled as spam.
How does this happen? One way is their mail host is being shared by businesses who are spamming like crazy. Any email sent from the IP address of their host is being flagged as spam. Another reason for not using a bargain basement host.
Another way is their Internet Service Provider flags them as a spammer if they send out too many emails in a day. This scenario happens usually with consultants working from a home office. One client who uses Act for his contact management sent out 30 emails one day and got flagged by his ISP.
Nothing more irritating than having your legitimate business emails getting blocked while you keep receiving pleading emails from Nigerian princes.
Why is it so hard to filter scammers?
It has to do with history of the Internet. When the Internet was created everyone trusted everyone else’s mail servers. There was no built in authentication system so a fake email from firstname.lastname@example.org blends in with real email from the business.
The major players in email like Microsoft and Google are working on creating new standards and authentication methods to reduce the spam. But it’s like the war on hackers, they keep upping the ante.
Internet Service Providers have made changes to how email flows through their systems to block spam. One side effect has been that email settings for businesses that worked one week now don’t work as the SMTP port they were using is now blocked.
If you’re getting a lot of spam, your business email is getting flagged as spam or you’re having other wonky email problems, we should review your email set up.