Avoiding Spam Filters

You can’t build a profitable list unless your email messages reach your subscribers’ in-boxes. In order to avoid your email messages from ending up in your subscriber’s spam folder, you will need to know how spam filters work.

The most commonly used spam filter is Spam Assassin. Spam Assassin uses a point system to determine whether or not an email is marked as spam. The points an email gets are based on words and/or phrases contained in the email that are considered to be spam words. The more points an email gets, the more likely Spam Assassin considers the email to be spam.

PLEASE NOTE: You may want to look at the emails that end up in your spam folder for words that trigger an email as spam.

Spam filters also classify an email as spam if it is sent by a known spammer. Most spam filters use one or more blacklists consisting of email addresses and domain names that are known to send a lot of spam. These blacklists are compiled by volunteers from emails forwarded to them. The volunteer looks at the email and decides whether or not it is a spam email, and if so, adds the sender of the email to their blacklist.

Spam filters use a computer component (such as the points system used by Spam Assassin), as well as a human component (such as blacklists). Therefore, you’ll need to make sure your messages don’t raise any red flags in either one.

One way of avoiding spam filters is by placing a character such as a period or asterisk in a known spam word. For example: FR.EE

Here are a few suggestions when writing your email messages:

• Do not use profanity. Even one instance of profanity in your messages may be enough to trigger your email as spam. Besides which, you may offend your subscribers if you use profanity. Plus, using profanity will make you look unprofessional and will probably cost you subscribers.

• If you are discussing financial or business affairs, be very careful. Spammers frequently send out emails that contain “Get Rich Quick” schemes. If you do discuss anything that is financially or business orientated, choose your words carefully. You may want to check a list of known spam words and/or phrases for those that are considered spam.

• Avoid any mention of genitalia or breasts. Emails promoting products to enhance genitalia or enlarge breasts are known spam emails.

• Do not offer any guarantees. Even a simple statement such as “I guarantee it!” will be considered spam.

• Do not make any reference to checks that may or may not be in the mail.

• Steer clear of subject lines that contain know spam words. Words such as “free,” “limited time,” and “money” often trigger spam filters.

• Do not describe anything in the body of your email as “free”. Also steer away from “limited time offer”, “money”, or any other phrase that deals with making money.

• Do not overuse exclamation marks. One or two per email is more than sufficient. Use a single exclamation mark at the end of a sentence, not multiple ones.

• Avoid salutations such as just saying “Hello”. Most autoresponders services allow you to address your subscriber by name. Always use this feature as it makes your email more personal.

• Create a detailed, personalized subject line. Again, most autoresponders have a feature that allows you to address your subscriber by name in the subject line.

• Don’t ever use the word opt, particularly with the words “in” or “out.” This is a known spam trigger.

• Offer instructions for “subscribing” and “unsubscribing.” Many times spammers use the word “remove” in their emails, so use “unsubscribe” instead. Plus, if you offer subscribing and unsubscribing instructions, some spam filters will actually deduct points from your spam score.

• Send your messages from a reputable domain name, preferably your own. Free email addresses such as Yahoo!, Hot Mail, etc. are often used by spammers. So avoid sending your messages from these email addresses. Besides which, it looks very unprofessional if you use a free email address to send out your newsletter.

PLEASE NOTE: The only exception is emails sent using Gmail. This is possibly because Gmail is a Google company.

• Don’t send attachments with your messages as an attachment may trigger spam filters. If you want your subscriber to receive a bonus, a special report, etc., set it up as a download.