Under The Microscope

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Everyday we send out many emails, for both support and for sales. And everyday, a few emails come back, thanks to Earthlink’s spamBlocker service.

If you don’t know, spamBlocker is an optional whitelist for Earthlink subscribers that auto-replies to emails, requesting that the original sender (read: us) verify their identity. The idea is that spammers won’t waste time on this, and the rest of us will. There are arguments to be made that perhaps wasting our time to ward off spammers isn’t quite right, but I’ll let that go.

No, the issue is with the error message that occasionally appears when we attempt to validate ourselves. Instead of a “Message Approved” message, sometimes we get this:

There are just three words for this. The first two are “What” and “The”, and the third, at least publicly, is “Hell?”. How is this at all helpful? What it says, in brief, is that one of three scenarios occured:

Scenario 1: The message expired.

Scenario 2: The message was rejected.


Scenario 3: The message was accepted.

From the above error, I really have no way of knowing what happened, and thus, what I should do.

Did they never see it, meaning I should send it again, as in Scenario 1?

Did they see it and don’t want it, meaning I probably shouldn’t resend it, as in Scenario 2?

Or did they see it and read it, meaning I definitely don’t need to resend it, as in Scenario 3?

In two out of these three possibilities, I should not resend it, and yet that’s just what the error instructs me to do. That’s more work for me, and more work for the recipient. Not to mention that if I resend it, I may well get a -new- Allowed Sender request to deal with.

I’m all for proper spam filtering, and even whitelisting despite the hassles it causes. But Earthlink, what do you say? Maybe you could improve this, just a little?

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