Don Marti

Mon 15 May 2006 06:02:05 PM PDT

SPF and deliverability

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) has a new web site, and the spec has been published as RFC 4408. Status is experimental.

But "AOL is also currently requesting all of their whitelist partners to switch to SPF to remain on their whitelist." And both and are flying the SPF flag. (host -t txt is a quick way to check if you're curious.) Looks like this "experimental" RFC will be a de facto MUST for anyone concerned about deliverability.

Deliverability. Let me speculate for a minute about deliverability, here. I'm interested in email newsletters for work, so, in an attempt to broaden my horizons, I subscribed to Clayton Makepeace's a newsletter about copywriting. I was following a link from Bob Bly, who has a spot in my RSS aggregator as the voice of database marketing.

It turns out that Spamassassin really, really doesn't like Mr. Makepeace's writing. His newsletter, which contains examples of high-performing direct mail copy, barely squeaks past my Spamassassin setup.

If you're writing KILLER SELLING COPY, your subscribers' spam filters are teaming up with their natural human filters. Spamassassin doesn't like it when "Something is emphatically guaranteed" or you talk about "more with an exclamation!".

Is the pay-to-send controversy only relevant for mail written in direct mailese, and can you escape the whole brouhaha by writing like a normal human being? What a side effect to the spam wars that would be.

(By the way, most of the stock spam that sneaks through my Spamassassin says that the stock is sure to go up because the company has a "big PR campaign" scheduled to begin. If that worked, couldn't you just skip buying the spam-pumped stock, pick a random company to invest in and do some PR for them on spec? Even if they never paid you, you could live off your trading profits.)