Yahoo and their mail filters..

Ray Corbin rcorbin at
Thu Feb 26 19:11:13 UTC 2009

$0.02 within

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Barry Shein [mailto:bzs at]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:29 PM
> To: Suresh Ramasubramanian
> Cc: nanog at
> Subject: Re: Yahoo and their mail filters..
> On February 26, 2009 at 06:55 ops.lists at (Suresh Ramasubramanian)
> wrote:
>  > On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 11:28 PM, Barry Shein <bzs at>
> wrote:
>  >
>  > > I realize this is easier in theory than practice but I wonder how
> much
>  > > better the whole AOL (et al) spam button would get if they ignored
> the
>  > > spam button unless two (to pick a number) different customers clicked
>  > > the same sender (I know, forged sender etc but something like that)
> as
>  > > spam in a reasonably short amount of time like an hour or a day at
>  > > most.
>  >
>  > .. and you think AOL doesnt track these?  Come on, barry - try to give
>  > large mailops shops with massive userbases some credit for clue level.
> I have no idea what they track and it's completely irrelevant.
> We get a steady stream of "spam" complaints from the AOL feedback loop
> which is virtually all either (we assume) unsubscriptions from
> legitimate mailing lists or random misfires, "it was nice seeing you
> and dad last week" From joe blow, To susie blow, which just probably
> isn't spam.

The format is standard so you can have it automated to look for people trying to unsubscribe and simply unsubscribe them. AOL also uses a % system before initiating a block. If you send 100000 emails to them and you get 500 complaints...its not going to block you. It is more of a friendly notice of what their members are saying is spam. It isn't their responsibility to tell you what is and is not actually spam with the FBL, they are saying what the recipients of your message is spam.

> Now, if you're still following, none (or a microscopic amt) of that
> would pass the "complaints came from two different sources in a fairly
> short amount of time" sniff test I proposed.
> If you track it and don't use it, well, tree falling in the forest and
> all that.
> I can see with my own eyes that nothing like this is being done.
> As far as I can tell from here, and other sites may see it
> diffferently, the feedback thing is mostly just a "please unsubscribe
> me from this mailing list I subscribed to and can't remember how to
> get off" and the occasional "oops, hit the spam button on mom's mail,
> oh well!"

If you are getting hundreds of spam complaints you either send a large volume of email to them or something is wrong with your mailings. I know at my old company we had thousands every day coming in, but it wasn't more then 0.2% or so of the volume that was actually sent to them (they send out the alerts when you start getting to there threshold).

>  >  You have all the clue in the world but you dont even begin to guess
>  > at the firehose AOL / Yahoo / we etc have to deal with.  Or what we
>  > routinely do, as a matter of best practice.
> Nor is it my problem.
> Why should my staff and I spend valuable time subsidizing your
> business model? Hire more people if you feel overloaded, but don't
> pass the workload off on others, particularly others in the biz, we
> have workloads too.

Automate it, they are standardized reports. Separate your newsletter from all other email. 

>  > I wont claim perfection, infallibility etc for any of the big 3
>  > (hotmail / yahoo / aol) or even for us (large enough - 76 million
>  > users we filter for, 40 million of which we host).  But a user report
>  > based spam reporting system works quite well on the aggregate.
> Perhaps it works for you, but we get a non-stop stream of false
> positives; unsubscribes (a lot of it), Dad's out of the hospital would
> love to see you next week, and on and on.
> I was suggesting a simple improvement which would help: Don't send it
> as a spam report unless you get two or more complaints about the same
> msg/source within a short time period.

> It's good and valuable advice, you can send me a PO...
> The point is, I'm not complaining, I'm making what I think is a
> constructive suggestion: Don't send it until you get two or more
> complaints (as previously outlined.)
>  > And yes, legitimate outfits can wind up blocked (universities because
>  > of unfiltered machines on campus, and because of nigerians / phishers
>  > hacking user accounts, webhosts because of hacked scripts, or because
>  > they end up hosting a high volume spammer in part of a /24 with legit
>  > customers near him ..)
> I didn't say a word about any of this...
>  > One thing that may need to be improved at one place or the other is
>  > false positive handling - make that faster and more efficient, and
>  > also publish the "unblock contact path"  in block messages you issue,
>  > and you would find a lot of the gripes getting resolved.  To some
>  > extent anyway.
>  >
>  > Postmaster work is a place for people with decent mailops / routing
>  > skills, yes - but far more than that, it is for people with both soft
>  > skills for customer service plus a finely tuned b.s detector.  It is
>  > complex, and far too long for nanog .. took maawg three or four
>  > brainstorming sessions over a year to discuss.
> Well, this is all nice, I'm sorry you entirely missed my rather simple
> and straightforward suggestion, but whatever.
>  >
> pdf
>  >
>  > And then some others relevant to this thread -
>  >
>  >
> f
>  >
>  >
> t_Practices.pdf
>  >
>  >
>  > --srs
> --
>         -Barry Shein
> The World              | bzs at           |
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