E-mail and the Battle Against Spam Illustration

E-mail and the Battle to Eliminate Spam

The basic premise of e-mail is simple: craft a message, and send it. Presumably the recipient receives the message and reads it. What could possibly go wrong? It turns out sending and receiving e-mail is far more complicated than most people assume. This article describes the major issues and what business owners can do to acquire the service they need and want.

The Battle to Eliminate Spam (Junk E-mail)

E-mail spam, otherwise known as junk e-mail, is e-mail that is unsolicited and almost always unwanted upon arrival. Spam is typically sent by unscrupulous Internet marketers in an attempt to drive traffic and business.

federal regulations and technology. The battle to defeat spam is currently fought with 

The Federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is designed to eliminate spam at the source from well-meaning companies wanting to reach their target markets via e-mail. The law acknowledges there are legitimate scenarios for commercial e-mail. And to facilitate these scenarios, the law provides easy-to-understand practical guidance on sending commercial e-mail.

Technology is also heavily involved in the ongoing battle against spam. Sophisticated spam filters are implemented by all the large commercial e-mail service providers. These large e-mail service providers continually monitor and evaluate the various sources of incoming e-mail to identify mail servers or accounts with other e-mail service providers responsible for sending spam. Once identified, these spamming mail servers or e-mail accounts are blocked, meaning any e-mail originating there is discarded without being routed to the intended destination e-mail box.

Implications for Business Owners

Sending E-mail: compliance with the Federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 should be considered a must for Business owners wanting to send commercial e-mail to their customers or to sales prospects.

If a business website needs to send e-mail, it will be important for the sending domain to be properly configured and, in some cases, the use of a reputable e-mail relay service may be required.

Receiving E-mail: Enormous amounts of spam should be expected by any well-established business. Consequently, a sophisticated spam filtering service should be retained as a matter of course. Effective spam filtering can most easily be accomplished through having e-mail hosted by a large reputable e-mail service provider (Rackspace is one such example). Alternatively, if a company needs or wants to host its own e-mail server(s), then a reputable third-party spam filtering service can be retained and configured to filter all incoming e-mail.

Bottom Line: E-mail is simply too complicated to be effectively handled by anyone with minimal technical expertise. So a qualified Internet technology professional who understands DNS and e-mail relay services should be involved in the planning and deployment of e-mail-related services.