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An Up Close And Personal Experience
My ISP installed a filtering package along about April of this year. I was "automatically" enrolled. This meant I got to visit site and look at blocked mail. Much more time consuming than doing so in my mailing program. Curious, however, I let it run for a time.
Surprise! Over a 9 day period, I found almost 30 messages from acquaintances, friends, peers, visitors, and subscribers blocked. Beyond notifying them that it happened, I was completely unable to say why. My hunch was, and remains, inadequate computing routines. Or inadequate programmers creating them.
When I'd had enough, I turned filters off. Guess I should be thankful I had that option. Shoot, some folks that mean a lot to me, only write a couple times a year. And I sure don't want to miss these messages.
I maintain a mailing list of people to whom I send my articles each week. In one mailing, about half a dozen were sent back to me from AOL. Reason: Invalid DNS pointers. Gee. I wonder how visitors are reaching my site.
As mentioned, most of mail filtered out is simply trashed. So there's no way to get a handle on this problem. I'd willingly delete email addresses, if they were returned to me. But if these packages wanted to play fair, they'd bounce to my mail list server. But being fair is not their objective.
Many have decided to send only a brief message that points to a URL for an HTML version of ezine. This won't work for all subscribers. Many don't want to move from handling email to jump onto Web. Page views will demonstrate wether or not this is so for you.
Another plan is to refer to an autoresponder for a copy of current issue. I don't see how this helps, for content mailed will have to get through same filter your newsletter would have faced directly.
Further, both ideas fail when filtering catches something in headers it doesn't like. As with AOL claiming my DNS pointers were flawed. Or a blacklisted IP address. How to beat such happenings is totally beyond me.
A Possible Maybe
I know many don't like attachments, but here's a thought. Send a message which has no content. Just identify newsletter in subject field by name. (It has been suggested we use our full name in From field, but I've been doing this routinely.)
Let message contain only URL to your HTML version. And include a .TXT version as an attachment. A click will load it to an editor on most systems. Again, though, if "obscene" content is in header, message won't go through.
I see no better alternative than to continue to grow my list and mail to it. I'll simply have to factor in a number for those arbitrarily trashed. If those into this kind of thing come up with a number, my hunch is that it will be about 25%.
When I adjust my email and ad response by 25%, numbers agree with those in pervious years. Not fact, of course. But suggestive.
Whatever this number proves to be, I'll live with it. And seek to be content with percentage delivered.
Bob McElwain, author of "Your Path To Success" and "Secrets To A Really Successful Website." For info, see