Ezine Publishers Avoid the Filtering Traps & Get Your Ezine Into Your Reader’s Hands

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So you think all of your subscribers are receiving

your ezine? Better think again. With the rise of

Spam filtering software, both by ISP’s and end users,

odds are your ezine may be getting deleted before

it’s even delivered to your subscribers.

There are two main types of filters: those installed

on the end user’s computer and server side programs

used by Internet Service Providers. The most popular

program used is http://SpamAssassin.org

So what does this mean to you as a publisher? If

you want to make sure your ezine is being read

you’ll want to pay close attention to the tips

given here. After all, do you spend your time

writing a good ezine just to have it sent to

the trash? I didn’t think so.

Spam filters work by counting the words in your ezine that fall on

their “target lists,” each of which has been assigned a numeric

value. After they’re done “scanning” your email, they

add up your score. If your total value is above

a set number, it is determined to be “spam” and

sent to the trash bin. Gone forever, and your

subscribers are none the wiser. Filters search

the message, the header, the subject line and

looks at the formatting as well. To see what

Spam Assassin looks at go to….

http://www.spamassassin.org/tests.html

I personally use filtering software due to the

hundreds of unsolicited messages I receive daily. But I

always go through the “trash bin” first and

glance through it before hitting the delete key

to make sure it hasn’t captured something I want

or need. The problem is that most users

of filtering software either

don’t want to spend the time, or don’t know how

to check it to see what was “killed.” So

many of them may be missing your ezine, even

though they have subscribed to receive it.

Now do you see how tough it is just getting

your ezine into the hands of your subscribers?

The trick is to be “smarter” then the filters and

utilize some of the great free tools that have

sprung up to help publishers with this exact

problem.

Before sending out your next issue, run it through

one of these free checkers to see if it will make

it past the filters and find out what your ezines

total score is along with tips on how to improve.

1) SiteSell Spam Check

http://spamcheck.sitesell.com

Go to the above url or submit your ezine to

mailto:spamcheck@sitesell.net with the word TEST

in all caps before your ezine name in the subject

line.

Example: TEST Merle’s Mission Ezine

2) Lyris Content Checker

http://www.lyris.com/contentchecker/

Runs your ezine through a battery of tests used

by “Spam Assassin.” Paste your ezine into the

web based form, hit submit and the results

will be emailed to you.

3) AssuranceSys.com- If you don’t mind parting

with some of your cash, Assurance Systems will

run a variety of tests for you and let you know

how your ezine stacks up against the filters and

if you’ve been blacklisted. Check them out at

[http://AssuranceSys.com]

So what’s considered “bad” to filtering software

and what can you do to reduce your score? I thought

you’d never ask. Here are some tips to help:

1) Be careful with your subject line- Avoid

the word free or using all caps or excessive

punctuation.

2) Using a lot of fancy HTML formatting can

hurt you. Many filters will kill HTML emails

as a given mistaking them for viruses.

3) A larger size can actually help you. Anywhere

from 20k to 40K is good and will actually subtract

bad points from your total score.

4) Blocking: Make sure your IP address is not

being blacklisted. This can happen if your site

is hosted on an open relay or you’re sharing an

IP address with someone who is a known spammer.

You don’t want to get yourself blacklisted so

be careful here.

5) Avoid the use of the words free, click here,

remove, spam, and any others known to be on

the list. This is pretty hard. Some publishers

have resorted to putting * or ^ in exchange for

letters. For example fr^e or Sp*m- It’s highly

debatable if this will work or not since most

filters will be catching on to this technique

soon if they haven’t already.

6) Set up free accounts at Yahoo and Hotmail

and subscribe to your own ezine and monitor the

boxes to see if your ezine is making it through

their filters.

For further tips I recommend the following resources:

“Avoid the Spam Filter Trap”

[http://assurance.sys.com/f/avoid-spam-filter-trap.pdf]

“List of Filtering Trigger Words”

[http://www.iprofitsystems.com/articles/spamfilters.html]

“20 Ways Opt in Emailers can Outsmart Spam Filters”

[http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt8/spamfilter-avoidance.htm]

Nice list of trigger words here:

[http://www.sv-cs.spam.html]

As you can see, publishing an ezine and getting it

to your subscribers is no longer an easy task. One

practice that has been adopted by some publishers is

to send a follow-up email after your ezine has gone out,

stating that it has been sent, including a url

where your subscribers can go to read the issue online. I do this

and every week that link registers 50 to 100 clicks,

so obviously a lot of people aren’t getting it

the first time.

There’s also a new service called Habeas.com which

is a whitelisting tool. For a large sum of cash

they’ll give you a line of code to add to your

email headers which guarantees your message will

pass through the filters. They have special

relationships with ISP’s and mail filters that

recognize the header labeling you a “good guy.”

It’s not inexpensive. Visit their site for more

info on how it works at http://habeas.com

There’s no way to beat filtering, but by being

informed and knowing what you’re up against and

how to improve, you’ll stand a much better chance

of getting your ezine where it needs to be. And

that’s why you started publishing in the 1st place,

isn’t it?

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