(The original version of this article was first published on the Mp3 Backing Trax website circa 2006 – 2012)
Have you ever had a friend send you an email but you didn’t receive it?
Yip, I thought so.
Email deliverability problems are something of an unwelcome inconvenience for most people…and a major headache for large companies like MP3 Backing Trax who send out hundreds of emails to customers every day containing download links for their backing tracks.
So why do some emails get through to you while others don’t?
Well, it’s all down to a thing your email provider does called filtering. All email service providers, including yours, filter their customers mail before delivering it to them. If you didn’t know this then I apologise for being the bearer of this shocking news but you DO need to know that your email provider is doing this.
One case in point was a customer called Mark who contacted me to say he was having problems. The first thing I noticed was that his email address was a BT Internet address. IMMEDIATELY that told me what the problem was, and I knew exactly how to fix it for him. You see, BT Internets mail service was taken over by Yahoo mail a while back…and Yahoo are notorious for running VERY aggressive email filters.
For those of you reading this who are perhaps unfamiliar with the workings of email filters, email filtering is basically a process where your email service provider scans every email that people send to you. They do this BEFORE they pass the email through to you. This lets them decide whether the email is legitimate mail, or whether it’s spam. If they think you want to receive the email, they deliver it to you. If they think it’s spam and you don’t want to receive it, they block you from receiving it.
Already you can see the problem this poses for all of us humble email users because service providers like Yahoo/BTInternet act as judge and jury on what YOU should be allowed to receive in YOUR email.
It’s still uncertain whether they should legally be allowed to do this. No-one as far as I know has challenged BT, Yahoo or anyone else in the courts over this issue, so the cold hard facts of the matter is that you just have to accept that they filter your emails – like it or lump it. Their argument is that if they didn’t filter your mail, junk email would clog up the email system and it would grind to a halt. A fair point, it must be admitted.
Yahoo email users of old already know that Yahoo filter their mail. They know that Yahoo run a very poor email filtering system. Yahoo email filters are so aggressive it’s not uncommon for job offers, important communications from your bank etc to get “eaten” by the Yahoo filters and never get to you. Yahoo users know and accept this. They have had to put up with this poor service from Yahoo for years and they can’t complain…because Yahoo email is free.
BUT, and here’s the rub…
Users of BT Internet (who were transferred over to Yahoo whether they wanted to be or not), actually PAY for their email service…and now it’s being handled by Yahoo whether they like it or not (oh dear)!
This brings up TWO very important issues.
Firstly, if BT Internet users are paying for their email service, they should not have to put up with the aggressive filters Yahoo place on their email account. For example, if I send you an email, you should expect and demand that Yahoo/BTInternet deliver it to you – that’s what you’re paying them for.
Secondly, up until the Yahoo takeover, BT Internet users had little or no problems with their email service. Existing BT customers were used to having ALL their emails delivered to their inbox. But now, all of a sudden, they have to go to the Yahoo/BTInternet website every day just to “fish out” all those legitimate emails that the new email provider Yahoo have filtered and treated as spam.
The problem for existing BT Internet users who have been with the service for years is:
a) Many don’t realise Yahoo have taken over their email
b) Most have no idea that they actually have a mail box with a bunch of filtered emails sitting on Yahoo’s server.
All this spells disaster for BT Internet customers and frankly I’m surprised that BT and Yahoo are still getting away with treating their customers like this.
Mind you, when I first started MP3 Backing Trax, I originally hosted our backing tracks server with BT. Needless to say I quickly sacked them. I found that they were not only completely inefficient, I also found them to be a very arrogant company who seem to be under some crazy egotistical delusion that everyone in the UK needs them. Well I didn’t need them, and I promptly moved my servers to another company where they reside to this day. Goodbye BT!
So, what can you do if you find that Yahoo/BT Internet or indeed any other email provider you use are filtering your emails and not delivering them to you? Simple…find another email provider.
At the time of writing this article Google’s Gmail has been getting good reviews regarding how well they balance filtering spam and delivering legitimate emails to their customers.
Another solution is to register your own domain name. Email comes as standard with all domain names you register, so if for example you register yourname.com, then you can have an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. It looks more professional than any old hotmail, yahoo or gmail address, and most importantly, it allows YOU to control the email filters yourself.
If you do continue to use Yahoo/BT Internet or any other email provider who plague you with deliverability problems and you feel your stuck with them – perhaps because you have a home telephone/TV/internet package with them – then I’ve written an article on how to retrieve most of the emails your service provider may filter out.
It still won’t stop them blocking some of the legitimate emails you really wanted to receive, but it will help a few other emails that would normally get “eaten” by their filters get delivered to you.