Where would we be without spam filters? According to the latest research, they block an incredible 400 billion messages every day. That is almost beyond our powers of comprehension, and there is no doubt that if we did not have them, our inboxes would be inundated with junk, making it next to impossible to identify the genuine messages that need our attention.
While spam filters make our online lives more manageable, they can also be irritating. We have all been in the position where we’ve suddenly discovered an important message that has been languishing in the spam folder for days on end. And it is no more fun from the sender’s side. What could be more disheartening than to send a well thought out and useful marketing email, only for the spam filters to divert it from the recipient’s inbox?
How accurate are spam filters?
It was not so long ago that Hotmail made a huge selling point of the 93 percent efficiency of its spam filter. By today’s standards, that is nothing to write home about. Gmail’s freeware solution boosts 99 percent effectiveness, which sounds better, but still suggests a lot of messages being wrongly categorized – one percent of 400 billion is more than significant.
This is why most businesses opt for a bespoke spam filtering application. While Gmail acknowledges that one in every hundred mails can be misfiled, the latest products from specialists at everycloudtech.com boast better than one in 10,000.
How do they work?
Think of a spam filter as a security guard who stands at your inbox watching everything that comes in. He has a set of criteria that he uses to decide whether each message is something the receiver genuinely wants, in which case it is allowed into the inbox, or whether it is spam, in which case it is diverted to the spam filter.
As you might guess, different filters employ different levels of complexity, but essentially, they will be looking out for the following:
- Spammy words or phrases in the subject box
- Suspicious content, such as links, attachments Java script and the like.
- Metadata within the address fields, the embedded code and the sender’s domain.
- Whether the sender’s IP address is on any blacklists or has been flagged as spam in the past.
How to get into the inbox
This is a complex question, but there are three basic measures you can take to stay in the spam filter’s good books and be granted access to the recipient’s inbox:
- Think hard about the subject box
It is not just the spam filter that pays attention to the subject box. The recipient will also form a judgement on the basis of what it says. Choose a subject heading that will capture the reader’s attention, but avoid overt marketing spiel, gimmicky phrases or capital letters.
- Focus on the text
Be very careful about too many links, images or attachments, as they will arouse suspicion in both the filter and the recipient.
- Use opt in/ opt out
If receivers have explicitly opted in to your communication, you don’t have a problem, and everyone knows where they stand. Similarly, make sure they have a means of explicitly opting out.