Yahoo email filters problem

Rob from Australia was in a bit of a panic when his Yahoo mail filter “ate” the download link email we sent him.

I re-sent it from the server, and the second time Yahoo let it through AND then delivered the original email too, even though they had blocked the original one a couple of hours previously! Aaaargh!

Thankfully I helped sort it all out quickly for him (it’s good to know there’s always a human peson on hand to help you here at MP3 Backing Trax).

So, use Yahoo email at your peril…read below…you have been warned!

Thanks Kenny
These two emails came through just now… the original one…. just another one of those great mysteries of life! Sorry to have been a pain…. i just happened to need it urgently… isn’t that the way it goes? Anyway, thanks for looking after it!

Hi Rob

Sorry for taking an hour or so to get back to you but I was checking a few things out first.

You see it has happened in the past that Paypals server has glitched and failed to send the response code to our shopping cart after an order has been made. When you make a successful payment, Paypal immediately send a resonse code to our shopping cart telling it that it’s ok to release the tracks and send out the download email. There have been times in the past when Paypal failed to do that due to glitches in Paypals server, but it doesn’t happen often – maybe once or twice a year.

However, the Paypal side of things does seem to have been absolutely fine in this case.

I’ve troubleshooted it further and have found that it was the fault of Yahoo – they filtered the email we sent you.

Yahoo run very strict spam filters and they scan each email before delivering it to you. They ultimately decide what you should be allowed to receive and what you cannot receive.

Yahoo act as judge and jury so you unfortunately have little say in:

a) Which emails they choose to deliver to your inbox

b) Which emails they filter and then pass to your spam folder for you to review later

c) Which emails they filter and then delete completely without you getting a chance to look at them first.

When I re-sent the download email to you a second time it got through (strange as it is, sometimes this happens – we have no idea why Yahoo do this).

Yahoo filters are notoriously sloppy and inconsistent and this is a tyical case where they blocked you from receiving an email one time but allowed the exact same email through to you another time!

Problem is that Yahoo are a free email service so you can’t really complain to them and ask them to stop interfering with your mail.

If it’s any consolation, in my experience Hotmail are almost as bad as Yahoo, and AOL are worse.

Surprisingly Google Mail (Gmail) are exceptionally good with deliverability so it looks like Google have got their act together more when it comes to spam filtering. Yes, Google have strict spam filters too, but they at least put ALL the emails in your spam folder, not just delete them completely if they don’t like the look of them like many of the others do…

At least with Google they will deliver suspected junk mail to you, they’ll just put it in your spam folder. The others should do this, but don’t. The others delete some spam emails at their server side BEFORE you have a chance to review them and decide for yourself if they are spam or not.

It may be an idea to open a Gmail account, especially for those most important emails that it’s absolutley critical you receive without the risks of filters blocking them…

Obviously you can still keep your Yahoo email operational – just use your Yahoo email for less important emails which you’re not too bothered whether you receive or not (that way it’s not the end of the world if Yahoo block you from receiving them).

Just as a quick aside, one of our customers uses BT Internet which is a UK email provider (the initials “BT” stands for is “British Telecom”).

He was unaware that BT Internet had handed their email processing to Yahoo (BT Internet are now called BT/Yahoo Mail).

So overnight his emails went from being filtered by BT Internet (which had been a reasonably good filtering system) to now being filtered by Yahoo (a notoriously poor filtering system).

Problem is, it was 3 weeks before he realised this changeover from BT to Yahoo had taken place and the only reason it came to light at all is because he contacted me when he didn’t receive a download link from us and asked if I could help…

I told him that his email was now being handled by Yahoo, not BT Internet, so he should check his Yahoo webmail spam folder.

He didn’t even know he had a webmail (he’d always used Outlook Express on his computer for his BT Internet email up till now)!

He checked his email and sure enough, there was our download email in his BT/Yahoo webmail spam folder…AND there was a 3 week old email from the BBC in London offering him a job which he obviously hadn’t replied to.

I’d like to say that there was a happy ending but sadly there wasn’t – he didn’t get the job at the BBC. He hadn’t replied to them so they thought he wasn’t interested and hired someone else.

However he did get rid of BT/Yahoo Mail and doesn’t use them any more, so that’s one consolation. He also told me he even cancelled his BT phone line and internet package because he was so disgusted with BT.

I suppose this is just a long winded way on a leisurely Sunday morning of me saying to you that, an email with a backing track download that doesn’t get through to you may be frustrating but I’ve re-sent it to you as soon as you let me know about it, you’ve got your download now, and all is well. More important emails are more than just a frustration so beware.

The real lesson in all of this is to be very vigilant if you use a Yahoo email account for anything really important like your bank, or your job, or important contacts from family. It could cause real serious disaster if some of those emails to you were blocked by Yahoo.

Again, sorry for the frustration, but hopefully some good will have come of it if this alerts you to a Yahoo problem you may not have known about before. It will hopefully help save you more serious problems further down the road…