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Is Your Ezine Being Zapped?

By Michael Southon
Monday, December 13, 2004; 10:40pm EST

About a year ago I wrote an article titled 'Winning The War On Spam'. Unfortunately, the war on spam is not being won at all.

In fact, the problem is now so serious that spam is shaping up to be the greatest threat to online marketing.

The threat comes not from spammers themselves, but from the filters that are being used to block them.

These filters are hitting hard at the very core of ecommerce - Ezine Publishing.

Anti-spam filters operate at two levels: (i) client-side programs that reside on individual computers and (ii) server-side programs that ISPs are using to block incoming spam.

The problem is that the filters are now so sensitive they are blocking even the most innocent of Newsletters.

For example, if your Newsletter contains the words 'remove', 'unsubscribe' or 'click here' it will trigger anti-spam filters in many of the programs that are now being used by ISPs.

The result?

Your Ezine is zapped, deleted - and a large percentage of your subscribers will think you have stopped publishing your Newsletter.

What can you do about it?

Here are some tips to avoid spam filters:

(1) Post your Newsletter online and then email your subscribers to tell them that the latest issue is now available online.

(2) In your Newsletter carefully avoid (both in the subject line and the body text) all words that are likely to trigger anti-spam filters. Use the free service listed at the end of this article - it will flag any words in your Newsletter that trigger anti-spam filters.

(3) Instead of saying 'to unsubscribe' (which is a phrase commonly found in spam), say 'If you no longer wish to receive...' or 'If you wish to leave this mailing list...' or 'To take yourself off this list...'

(4) If there are trigger words that you simply cannot avoid, you can disguise them using carets (^) or other symbols. The 'F' word would become fr^e and the 'U' word would become uns^bscribe.

(5) Include the word 'Newsletter' in the subject line of your email - this will help the filters identify your email as non-spam.

(6) Avoid whole words in upper case. In many Newsletters the headers are capitalized - this will trigger the filters.

(7) If your Newsletter contains ads, scrutinize them carefully - ezine ads, by definition, contain words frequently used by spammers.

Here is a free service that will help you avoid spam filters. Before you mail out your Newsletter, just send a copy of it to the email address below with TEST in the subject line: mailto:spamcheck@sitesell.net

Within a few seconds you'll receive a report that analyses your Newsletter and gives you a score (0 to 5=no problems 12-16=over the limit for most ISPs).

If you write articles, it's worth submitting them to this test as well, together with your Resource Box (I just sent this article to SpamCheck and got a score of 4.6).

SpamCheck is operated by SpamAssassin, a filter that is widely used by ISPs - so this is a good test of whether your Newsletter will get through to your subscribers.

About the Author
Michael Southon has been writing for the Internet for over 3 years. He has shown hundreds of web masters how to use this simple technique to get massive free publicity and dramatically increase traffic and sales. To find out more, please visit: http://www.ezine-writer.com.

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