20 Words That Kill - At Least When It Comes to Spam Filters

Spam, spam, spam. It's terrible not only for those of us on the receiving end, but for those of us who SEND e-mail.

This deluge of irritating junk has unfortunately interfered with legitimate e-zine publishers, because we're caught in the anti-spam crossfire. If you publish any type of e-mail publication, there's a likely chance that your e-zine is NOT reaching a portion of your readers. Why? Their Internet service provider (ISP) or e-mail program uses a spam filter.

These software programs search for words and phrases that are typical of spam and assign each incoming e-mail a "score." If your e-mail has too many of these words and phrases, you receive a high score, and you may be blocked.

TOP 20 "KILLER" WORDS/PHRASES YOU MAY BE USING

While there are other words that will cost you more "points" than these do (e.g. sexual phrases), here are the most common "trigger" words and phrases that you may be using in your e-zine:

  • amazing
  • cancel at any time
  • check or money order
  • click here
  • congratulations
  • dear friend
  • e-mail marketing
  • for only ($)
  • for free
  • great offer
  • guarantee
  • increase sales
  • order now
  • promise you
  • risk free
  • special promotion
  • this is not spam
  • to be removed
  • unsubscribe
  • winner
  • WHAT'S A PUBLISHER TO DO?

    You have two choices when it comes to beating the filters. One is to avoid using these words and phrases altogether. I've found that hard to do. For example, in a recent issue, I discussed how to use your e-zine to increase business. Unfortunately the word "increase" cost me a fat 1.4 points in SpamAssassin, one of the most popular filter programs.

    Your second choice is to disguise these words and phrases in clever ways by inserting keyboard symbols within them and/or replacing a letter in them with a symbol. The trick is not to make it too cryptic - you want your readers to be able to understand what you're saying. For example, in my e-zine, I use "fr*ee" for free.

    While some spam filters pick up on this trick and penalize you for doing it by adding onto your score, I've found that the points this tactic costs you penalize you much less than using the words and phrases themselves. It's not a perfect solution, but it's working for now.

    TEST BEFORE YOU SEND

    It's a great idea to test how YOUR e-zine stacks up before you send it out. The good news is you can do this for FREE.

    Lyris' Content Checker (http://www.lyris.com/contentchecker) tells you how your e-zine ranks in Spam Assassin. All you do is copy your e-zine text and paste it into the box on their site. They'll run your free report and e-mail a copy to you. It usually arrives within minutes.

    The report will tell you exactly which words are costing you points. Usually you should only be concerned if your score is over 5 points. If so, you can either delete those words or disguise them, as I mentioned above.

    I test each issue of my e-zines in Content Checker before I publish them, and often I'm surprised (and relieved) that my score is low. That makes me a happy publisher. : )

    (c) 1999-2002 Alexandria K. Brown

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," is author of the award-winning manual, "Boost Business With Your Own E-zine." To learn more about her book and sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her site at http://EzineQueenTutorial.com/

    In The News:

    Robocalls | About Verizon  Verizon Communications

    Spammer in the Slammer: Jeremy Jaynes Sentenced to Nine Years

    Will other spammers take heed? Don't count on it.Jeremy Jaynes... Read More

    Avoiding the Spam Trap: Get Your Message Delivered!

    Your message is not being delivered.If you send emails to... Read More

    How Can I Stop Getting Spam?

    Are you getting too much spam? We all are, but... Read More

    Kill The Messenger (Service)

    You are familiar with the software applications that you run... Read More

    Spammer Stole My Email Address?

    Do you get bounced, or rejected emails sent by someone... Read More

    The War on Spam: Google Fights Back

    Google is engaged in a war. It is a war... Read More

    Pst... Pass It On... I Found Out Its a Hoax

    When you receive an email telling you about a virus,... Read More

    Is Spam Affecting Your Business Email?

    5 Ways Spam Is Affecting Your Business And what we... Read More

    All About Spam

    Spam is annoying. Period. Why people would want to send... Read More

    The Anti Spam Challenge ? Minimizing False Positives

    Email is the quintessential business communication tool, so when it... Read More

    Take Back Control of Your Inbox: Eliminate Annoying and Potentially Harmful E-mails

    Are you tired of spam stealing your time, your money,... Read More

    I Love Spam!

    What's the big deal? All you read on the internet... Read More

    What To Do When You Get Spam

    When you go to your mailbox and find pieces of... Read More

    E-mail SPAM: Whats The Big Deal?

    It absolutely amazes me how many people over-react to receiving... Read More

    How To Stop Spam (Especially If You?re Already a Victim)

    Spam. Those annoying, time-consuming emails that clog your Inbox and... Read More

    Dont Give the Spammers Your Address From Your Page

    Spammers get email addresses from web pages using programs called... Read More

    How You Can Avoid The New Dangers Of Spam

    Until recently, spam has been an annoyance, a definite load... Read More

    How To Stop Unwanted Email Spam

    You can stop unwanted email spam, you can choose to... Read More

    A Practical Approach to Eliminate Spam

    Spam is out of control! I guess that would be... Read More

    Corporate Email Policies Lower Unnecessary Legal and Security Risks

    What comes to your mind when you think about your... Read More

    Bayesian Spam Filters Explained

    In a word Bayesian spam filters are "intelligent". Bayesian spam... Read More

    The Definition of Spam

    Spam can bring down your website faster than a speeding... Read More

    Internet Tip of the Week: Outsourcing

    It's no secret that the US economy has slowed down,... Read More

    Stuffing the Spammers!

    I'm really, truly fed up with spam. Every day when... Read More

    Spam eMails Are Not Just Annoying - They Are A Main Distributor Of Viruses

    Why is someone from India, Africa, or elsewhere writing you... Read More