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February 21, 2008

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Keith Robinson

I'm getting increasing pressure from a client about this issue.

It's bad enough when simple communication fails between the website owner and his clients. But it's REALLY bad when a website user pays for something online and is supposed to receive a receipt for his purchase -- but doesn't because he's a Yahoo user. That's pretty serious.

Imagine if a system was set up so that the paying user receives user login details or some other important info by email, and fails to receive them. He could feel cheated and report the website for fraud.

Being blocked by Yahoo or Aol or Comcast may not be Modwest's fault, but the client doesn't see it that way no matter how much I try to explain. The client just says, "If Modwest keep getting blocked, then move the site to another server."

I try to explain that this might just be moving the same problem elsewhere, but honestly I don't know if that's the case. My client swears blind that Network Solutions "guarantee" they will never be blocked by Yahoo, and I'm being pressured to move the site back to NetSol (which is where I moved it away from in the first place!).

I feel like I need some long-term answers to this increasing problem, because it's getting worse and worse. First Aol, now Comcast... and soon Yahoo. Is Modwest treated worse than most other servers? Can NetSol really guarantee they'll never be blocked? If so, how?

Right now I'm searching out alternative servers that "guarantee" similar things. I don't want to change my host at all, but for some clients I may have to.

I'd like a response to this, please, Modwest -- I was going to ask about this through the contact form but thought it might be more relevant and useful here.

jmasterson

Keith,

Thanks for your comment and questions.

Comcast, Yahoo, and AOL are all trying to provide the best email experience for their users, but the methods they seem to be using to identify the real source of spam is flawed. We are relatively certain that the majority of the reason we've been blocked by each is due to spam delivered via customer-defined forwarding rules. Unfortunately neither Yahoo nor Comcast has told us anything specific about their reasons for their blocks, despite repeated attempts to communicate with them. Before we changed our policy, we were filling out a Comcast request form to request that email be let through sometimes several times a day -- which didn't always receive a timely response from Comcast.

Comcast's policy is impacting many, many email providers.

For a few examples: http://www.google.com/search?q=forwarded+email+blocked+by+comcast

As for a guarantee offered by any other provider, I can't imagine how any company could guarantee a different company's actions or inactions, so I'd advise your client to get any guarantees in writing before proceeding.

There is a concept of "bonded senders" or "certified email", in which you pay someone extra to ensure that email you send is accepted by (only) participating email providers, but it doesn't help ensure that email which other people send to you gets through, and it's not feasible in a shared hosting environment anyway.

Certified Dude

You might want to use GoodMail.com for to make sure your email do not end in the junk box.

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