Not totally photo related, not just a journal. A bit of both.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"You've Got... No Mail..."

I have posted about it before, but in a piece on the Globe and Mail Technology site yesterday, Ivor Tossell wrote about emails getting lost in transit, and it got me once again thinking about that.

Lost email happens to me on occasion both sending and receiving. I use Gmail for potential clients to contact me for my photography work and I would say that about 10% of the inbound emails now end up in Gmail's spam folder. About the same amount (as near as I can guess from follow up calls or txts after sending in some cases) ends up in the recipient's spam folder when I have replied with edited images or proofs, or even cold contacted an individual or a web site with plain text and no attachments. Some emails never even get to either accounts and are blocked at the server side by Gmail, or Hotmail, or local ISPs or corporate firewalls. Some days mail comes through from specific known addresses and the next day it goes right to spam.

Use of the web based mail by so many people due to its ease of use, portability and so on has lead spammers to use them and dispose of them almost as quickly. Accordingly, spam filters seem to be set up to block more than they allow. Which is great when not wanting to see misspelled Viagra ads, but when something important gets swept up and missed - as happened only a week ago to me, it is quite frustrating. I only found a recent urgently requested reply message while combing through the Spam folders on my two Gmail accounts prior to deleting the lot. I had over 500 spam messages in each account from the past 30 days, and found five or six legitimate emails mixed in to both Spam folders. My Hotmail account gets very little spam at all, which makes me suspect a lot more is being blocked server side than Gmail.

Checking your spam folder for the ones that slip through (and then deleting the rest regularly), letting people know who have allow lists to OK your address - as I put on the contact page on my site - does help, but its not fool proof.

In corporate systems, if something has gone missing, check with IT to see if specific webmail or domains are blocked by default (and perhaps request exceptions as needed). Depending on policies, they may say no to allowing domains as a whole (or even whole countries such as .ru Russian addresses) as they may want to keep the potential of virus attachments, spam and so on from interfering with local computer networks. They might however on the other hand allow your spouse's specific email address etc. They want to protect their networks and perhaps may have been directed to filter sites including email to limit distractions amongst staff which could interfere with productivity...

If you are worried about your email going unread, applications such as Outlook/Exchange that can have receipts attached can help you know if it was received and read. But its not often that can be done on the student, consumer or small business level.

Keeping one up on the influx of junk mail is necessary, and despite victories against spammers such as McColo Corp. this week, the battle to separate the wheat from the e-chaff is only going to get tougher. And productivity wise, we all suffer for that.


Mike Wood Photography

No comments: