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PostPoints tip: Write for spam filters

Those same automated filters that try to keep your inbox free of unsolicited, often-fraudulent junk mail can also bottle up your own outgoing messages. When that happens, you generally won't get any notice that your e-mail got stopped at the border, while your would-be correspondents probably won't have any idea that you tried to send a message unless they check their e-mail service's spam folder. (I try to do that myself once a week; usually, I find 5 to 10 legitimate, wrongly quarantined messages for every 100 spam e-mails.) To reduce the odds of this happening, try to avoid the obvious spam keywords, such as prominent or repeated references to certain pharmaceuticals, jewelry brand names or commercial software titles. Sometimes, messages free of those traits still get held up by spam filters; in those cases, writing a clear, specific subject header--preferably free of exclamation points or repeated capital letters--will help your message stand out from all the junk in the spam folder. That will also help even if your message gets through to the recipient's inbox, considering how many of us will skip past or delete a message from a strange sender with a blank or generic subject line. (Note: All these references to spam may have set off your own mail service's spam filter. If so, sorry...)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  September 1, 2009; 9:38 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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