“I’d like to talk about the other side of the email equation – what happens for legitimate senders, whose email is blocked as spam because an ISP decides that certain words in their email are not ok.
We operate a video industry newsletter, specifically DVDs, for consumers. We had our requested newsletter spamfiltered last week because it had a review of the film Nathalie in it, which we described in the newsletter as “In this sexually charged story of infidelity, eroticism and desire, Emmanuelle Beart plays a Parisian prostitute who is hired by a married woman (Fanny Ardant) to seduce her husband (Gerard Depardieu).”
Anyone who has seen the film, or reviews of the film, know that this is very much an accurate description of the main theme of the film. Should that mean that people who requested our newsletter should not receive it? I think not. I hope not!
I think many of the ISPs go beyond attempting to detect legitimate vs. illegitimate email into the realm of moralistic filtering. Basically they’re trying to ensure that no one is offended. OK great I get that, totally cool. Except when that email that is being sent to someone has been legitimately requested by them. I think it’s the receiving ISP’s responsibility to ensure delivery of email which people have actively requested AS MUCH or even more than ensure they don’t get what they don’t want.
Imagine if ISPs applied the same filtering rules they used for email to people’s surfing under the guise that they were trying to protect them from malicious sites. People would switch in a heart beat to ‘unfiltered’.
My biggest hope honestly is that all the major ISPs integrate RSS into their email systems, so that we can stop sending email all together and just use RSS to deliver our information. Already our main DVD Talk RSS list is at 85% the number of subscribers that our email newsletter is and my hope is that we’ll surpass it this year.
We’ve even added a blurb to the bottom of each newsletter asking people to sign up to the RSS feed.
Geoffrey Kleinman – Editor