Monday, October 24, 2005

Do missing emails go to the same place as odd socks?

These days (thanks to the spammers) all mail is scanned in some form or another, in fact most mail is filtered several times between destinations. Unfortunately the result of this scanning is that more mail goes astray than it used to.

In addition to ISP mail filtering (scanning on the servers) a lot of people now filter mail in outlook. This happens one of two ways. The first being through the inbuilt spam filtering that comes with versions of Outlook later than Outlook XP, mail believed to be spam is automatically moved from the inbox into the ‘junk e-mail’ folder as it is downloaded from the server. The second filtering method is via software installed on the user’s own computer; again mail is moved from the inbox into a designated junk folder. Some users may not be away that this filtering is happening as in the case of Outlook it is set up by default. This is a problem especially with Hotmail users. Often mail that doesn’t appear to have arrived is languishing in one of these ‘junk’ folders.

There are precautions people can take to make sure they receive mail from you. If they are using a recent version of Outlook or a dedicated spam filtering program then they can add your address to their ‘safe list’ (also known as a white list). This ensures that all mail from you is let through without being filtered. Recipients can also add you to their address book or contacts list to help ensure mail gets through.

Mail filtering amounts to essentially what is a big pain in the bum. As the internet evolves there will always be those that take advantage (like spammers), and it’s becoming the role of people like me (IT people) to try and ensure genuine messages continue to move unimpeded, whilst causing the minimum inconvenience to the end user.

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