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Yahoo Blocks Venerable Email List Over False Positives

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-say-it's-ham dept.

Yahoo! 358

RomulusNR writes "Yahoo has stopped delivering This Is True, Randy Cassingham's 14-year-old mailing list, because too many Yahoo readers have mistakenly or carelessly flagged it as spam. Yahoo readers make up over 10% of True's readership, slashing the ad revenue that keeps it going. And Yahoo doesn't negotiate with spammers. As Randy describes it: 'The yahoos... ask to be put on True's distribution, then confirm that request, and... then click the "This is Spam" button when they don't recognize the mailing or simply don't want it anymore. Yes, those yahoos have screwed thousands upon thousands of others who really do want my newsletter. Too bad: Yahoo is listening to the yahoos instead: they're blocking it. To them, we're "spammers" and no protestations from "spammers" count.' The irony is that This is True is one of the first profitable mailing lists, predating Yahoo! Mail by almost three years."

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ANOUNCEMENT (1, Funny)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459593)

rom: Dramane Yadi - dramane.yadi@katamail.com

From: Mr. Dramane YadiAbidjan Cote D'Ivoire West - Africa
Dear Friend,

I am Mr. Dramane Yadi, I work in the Accounts/ Operations Department of a Prime banks here in Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire. I actually have an urgent and very confidential business proposal for you. I got your contact from Internet and decided to contact you immediately.

On January 10th 1994, An American Oil Consultant/ Contractor with the Societe Ivoirienne De Raffinage (SIR), Mr. George Norman Wesley, made a number time (fixed) deposits valued at US$8,750,000 (Eight Million, Seven Hundred & Fifty Thousand United States Dollars). On investigation, it was discovered that Mr. Wesley died along with his family in a plane crash. On further investigation, I discovered that Mr. George Norman Wesley did not leave a WILL and all attempts to trace his Next of Kin proved abortive. I therefore made further investigation and discovered that Mr. Wesley did not declare any Next of Kin in all his official documents, including his Bank Deposit paper work. This sum of US$8,750,000 is still floating in the Bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each year. For the past 5 to 6 years now, no one has ever come forward to claim the fund.
According to the Ivoireinne Laws, at the expiration of 7 (seven) years, the money will revert to the ownership of the Ivoireinne Government if nobody applies to claim the funds. That is what gave way to this deal.
Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand in as the Next of Kin to Mr. George Norman Wesley so that the fruits of this old man's labour will not get into the hands of some government officials.
To facilitate the transaction therefore:

1. I would like you to provide me with a viable account details where this fund could be safely transferred into as Next of Kin of the former depositor.

2. We do not anticipate any risk/problem whatsoever, as all the loopholes has been taken care of and there is no risk involved in this deal. All the Computer work for this transaction will be done by me, including your name as the new Beneficiary of this fund.

You will be entitled to 30% of the total amount as your commission after the transaction. If you are interested and capableof handling this deal, please write. On receipt of your response, I shall then provide you with more details on how to go about it.

Please note that this is very confidential. And as I am still a staff with the bank here. I would not like to be known or mentioned as having knowledge of the deal but I will be giving you inside information on what to do.

Awaiting your urgent reply. Do not forget to include your direct telephone and fax numbers for further communication.

Faithfully Yours,

Mr. Dramane Yadi

So, what is the problem? (1, Insightful)

fluch (126140) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459639)

If you are not happy with the way the email service is provided (in this case by Yahoo), then change tho some other place, say for example Google. Mark me troll .. but isn't this the way the market works?

Re:So, what is the problem? (5, Interesting)

moreati (119629) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459697)

The person being hurt is the mailing list owner, who isn't a customer of Yahoo. The Yahoo subscribers, who marked it as spam will be quite happy, they're no longer receiving this email they forgot subscribing to. The remaining Yahoo subscribers may or may not notice they ceased receiving it. Many will assume that the mailing list has closed all together.

So I don't see any market pressure to force Yahoo's hand. Other than what little publicity the mailing list owner can generate.

Re:So, what is the problem? (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460005)

they're no longer receiving this email they forgot subscribing to

guilty. not of this particular list but of countless others, its just easier to mark for example, amazon spew as spam than rather take the few minutes (generally) to correctify the problem.

Re:So, what is the problem? (0, Troll)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460173)

Companies that spew junk at me becuae I happened to visit their site *once* get firmly reported as spam.. it's unsolicited commercial email ie. spam.

Part of the problem... (5, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460601)

If the site was so bad that you only visited it once, why did you give them your friggin' email address?

They didn't just grab it out of thin air, you know. You're the one that went through their registration process and agreed to their terms of service, in which case any email they sent to you WASN'T unsolicited and WASN'T spam.

In short, you're one of the idiots who're causing all of the problems. Just click the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the email next time.

Re:So, what is the problem? (3, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460393)

I have no problem doing this at home, where the only account that it affects is my own. It's useful, for example, to avoid those mailing lists that people who know you inevitably put you on -- you know, the "Random link I found" list, the "Same Goddamned Joke I Just Got From Everyone Else, And Wasn't That Funny Last Year, Either" list, the "Upcoming Torah Services At Your Synagogue" list, the "Yet Another Attempt To Unsubscribe By Spamming The Whole Fucking Mailing List" crap, etc.

That is, not actually spam, because they actually know me, and must think I want to receive this stuff. But it's often easier to simply mark it as spam than to have to explain myself.

And I know that with my own filter, it will actually learn based on content -- so I won't get the Same Goddamned Joke, but I will get things I care about from the same person.

However, at work, we're on Gmail, so I don't do that -- especially because the signal/noise ratio isn't bad, and it's usually easy enough to create labels and filters. Amazon stuff goes in Amazon.

Re:So, what is the problem? (0, Troll)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460007)

The person being hurt is the mailing list owner, who isn't a customer of Yahoo

If no one is upset over its absence, then it indeed was spam. The determination of spam is based on whether you want it to continue or not. The lack of complaining subscribers suggests it wasn't.

The remaining Yahoo subscribers may or may not notice they ceased receiving it. Many will assume that the mailing list has closed all together.

A paying subscriber will know.

Re:So, what is the problem? (5, Insightful)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460053)

If no one is upset over its absence, then it indeed was spam. The determination of spam is based on whether you want it to continue or not. The lack of complaining subscribers suggests it wasn't.

Huh? It's an OPT IN MAILING LIST, with a very deliberate signup process, you can't inadvertently or accidentally sign up. You have an interesting definition of what spam is, well not so much interesting as stupid.

Re:So, what is the problem? (1, Insightful)

SirShmoopie (1333857) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460113)

It is in the nature of people to seek the shortest path to gratification.

An unsubscribe process takes more clicks then hitting 'mark as spam'. That's all the reason people need to use the spam button. Can you honestly say you've never done it?

Re:So, what is the problem? (5, Insightful)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460291)

An unsubscribe process takes more clicks then hitting 'mark as spam'. That's all the reason people need to use the spam button. Can you honestly say you've never done it?

Um, yes, actually. I'm kind of shocked that you even consider it a valid option. Does it not occur to you that this has the potential to impact other people, too? I mean, I can be as lazy as the next person sometimes, but how hard is a couple fucking clicks of a mouse?

Re:So, what is the problem? (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460581)

I agree that people shouldn't mark as spam things they voluntarily signed up for (unless attempts to remove oneself from the list fail).

However, I think this also points out a way in which email could be made better. There should really be a standardized way to unsubscribe from mailing lists, so that every mail client automatically shows an "unsubscribe" button inside any mailing list email. The problem with current unsubscribe methods is that they require too much effort (even clicking a few links is "too much effort" in comparison to the "spam" button... moreover many sites make you go through numerous confusing web-forms). Also, an integrated "unsubscribe" button in an email client would send the "please unsubscribe" signal, and simultaneously add the address to a personal blacklist (but not add it to the spam detection list).

If you make it easy for people to use, then they will. The present problem arises largely from people's laziness. But you can't prevent people from being lazy, so instead the tools should adapt to people's common usage.

Re:So, what is the problem? (5, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460349)

As someone who's been on Randy's list for 10+ years, I can tell you it's easier to remove yourself from his list than anything else. It's literally just one click to unsubscribe.

In fact, it's easier to get off his list than it is to get on.

Some people do pay for the upgraded "Premium" This is True, and those people are not getting a paid-for-service.

What if yahoo decided that announcements from /. were spam? What if you were a subscriber?

Re:So, what is the problem? (5, Insightful)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460381)

I want my spam filter to be accurate. I would not mark something "spam" if it were not actually spam - and certainly not if it were from a mailing list I deliberately subscribed to.

That's a terrible idea, and the fact that people do it irritates me. I'm sure it's the reason Google's spam filter is not as accurate as it used to be.

Re:So, what is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460667)

Yes, I can. Just because people are idiots who do idiotic things doesn't mean I have to be one too.

Re:So, what is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460307)

You're so wrong about your "determination of spam" that it hurts. Please leave the Internet.

Re:So, what is the problem? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460425)

The determination of spam is based on whether you want it to continue or not.

That's not a simple boolean, and indifference doesn't mark it as spam. It might make it useless, but it doesn't make it spam.

A paying subscriber will know.

And what about the free subscribers?

Exceptions List? (2, Interesting)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460659)

I would presume that interested subscribers (particularly paid ones) would still find a way of receiving their messages. EVERY spam filter has an exceptions list, to explicitly specify addresses that you want to receive messages from, even if the filter thinks they are spam. Yahoo's prefes might be a bit more hidden, but I'd be surprised if adding this 'blocked' mailing address to that list wouldn't let the messages through. Presuming the mailing list is linked to an actual website letting his users know to add the address to their exceptions list, it doesn't seem like this should be more than a temporary problem if his viewers are actually dedicated. Spam is a problem. Idiots incorrectly using spam filters is another one. But that's how things are, and until some spam-proof Internet 2.0 comes along, we just have to deal with spam or inaccurate filters as they stand - or change mail providers if becomes annoyng.

Re:So, what is the problem? (2)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459913)

Not sure why you are marked "off topic".. What you say is true from a receivers point of view.. What I would do if I was the sender though, is create a little informative email telling the Yahoo users what the deal is, and recommending that if they wish to continue getting the newsletter that they new a new email provider.. and then send to the Yahoovians using a different email address.. for irony, maybe even use Yahoo to send it.

Re:So, what is the problem? (2, Interesting)

phagstrom (451510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460033)

A valid point. However, from personal experience I can tell you that when [place name of any webmail service] users no long get the mail they expect, they don't blame said webmail service - they blame the company or person that *should* have sent the mail. Because we all know that mail *always* gets through and that Yahoo, Hotmail, Google et al *always* work as they should.

The problem is compounded by the fact that answering angry support mail from users demanding to get their newsletter might be impossible, because that too may be blocked.

So while I agree with you that this could be solved by getting the webmail user to shift over to a new provider, the user may never be aware that the mail provider is the problem.

I guess solving the spam problems is not an easy task :-)

Mailing list receipts (1)

moreati (119629) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459651)

I wish we had some widespread way of verifying a mailing list subscription, or cessation thereof.

I would allow this mailing list to prove to yahoo that the subscriptions are real. Also, for the subscribers that did tag it spam to automatically unsubscribe & later prove that they unsubscribed.

I receive too many emails, months after I provide my address to a site. After this time I think I ticked the 'no junk mail' box, but I cannot verify it to myself or to anyone else. Equally when I find the unsubscribe option, it's often a web link that provides no record to me that I unsubscribed.

I don't care how it's done, I just wish it were so. Alex.

Re:Mailing list receipts (5, Interesting)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459827)

the REAL story here is ... "How do I poison the yahoo spam list to ignore email from large, legitimate companies?" ... because it seems to be working well by accident. Maybe someone could monetize this? (Of course, that makes it a denial of service attack, and probably not legal... but...)

Re:Mailing list receipts (4, Interesting)

rfuilrez (1213562) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459931)

Simple.
  • Create thousands of Yahoo mail accounts,
  • Subscribe to said companies mailing list
  • Mark as spam
  • ???
  • Profit!

Re:Mailing list receipts (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460223)

Well, you won't be making profit, but those companies will be losing profit.

Re:Mailing list receipts (2, Insightful)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460315)

If you're a competitor to said company, it could well make you a profit.

Spam traps in the 2nd degree. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459967)

If you own your own domain (or manage one) you can create a fake address and use it ONLY for that specific site. Then unsubscribe it. Then label anything that gets delivered to it as spam.

The reason this is "2nd degree" is that you actively subscribe it.

The "1st degree" spam traps would be ones that you never subscribed to anything.

Re:Mailing list receipts (5, Insightful)

strabes (1075839) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460293)

I wish we had some widespread way of verifying a mailing list subscription, or cessation thereof.

Don't RSS feeds accomplish this because people can subscribe and unsubscribe at will? I'm on the mailing list of several missionaries from my church but would much prefer them to just open a blog and let me subscribe via RSS instead of sending me emails. Easier for me (fewer emails to check), easier for them (no need to maintain a large database of contacts & email addresses, many of which are probably out of date.) With RSS feeds, nothing is ever out of date and you can be sure everyone that is supposed to be getting your content actually is getting your content. I guess the only disadvantage of RSS feeds is that one has to be reasonably technologically savvy to even know what they are, let alone use them.

Re:Mailing list receipts (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460537)

Also, with RSS feeds, it's harder to get an accurate count of subscribers. Not impossible, mind you, but harder.

OMG thatz so dicked yo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459655)

liek how did he do that thinkin he d be all up in his shit man thats sum drama i tell ya

Predating? (1, Funny)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459677)

So he was trying to hunt down Yahoo? I think the hunter got hunted.

Re:Predating? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459955)

American Heritage Dictionairy:
[quote]predate (pr-dt')
tr.v., -dated, -dating, -dates.
To mark or designate with a date earlier than the actual one: predated the check.
To precede in time; antedate.[/quote]

Re:Predating? (1, Funny)

Yath (6378) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460563)

Joke n. that thing going whoosh over your head!

I kid!

double standard (4, Interesting)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459691)

I'm all the time clicking "this is spam" on stuff that Yahoo sends to my yahoo account, but I still get it. What's up with that?

Re:double standard (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459869)

Thats because they know you're p3n1s really is that small.

Re:double standard (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460235)

I will donate the money to get that fixed, as soon as my Nigerian prince friend sends me my share of his father's estate. Still waiting...

Re:double standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459885)

Why don't you go into your Yahoo! notification preferences and turn off the items you don't want to get there?

Re:double standard (5, Informative)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459889)

I'm all the time clicking "this is spam" on stuff that Yahoo sends to my yahoo account, but I still get it. What's up with that?

Me, too. They also started throwing all the moveon e-mails and tor e-mails into the spam folder as well. So is yahoo not delivering the mail at all, or just throwing it straight into folks spam folder?

Re:double standard (5, Interesting)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460157)

Hint: People are deliberately signing up for MoveOn lists, then flagging it as spam.

This is not news - it's a pretty well-known competitive dirty trick.

Re:double standard (4, Interesting)

k8to (9046) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460353)

1 - 1998-ish? I deliberately signed up for moveon.
2 - I read it for years, but it got more screechy.

3 - 2001-ish - I tried to unsubscribe, twice. Tis failed twice.
4- I began using "mark as spam" on moveon mail because it was UNWANTED bulk email, which is basically spam.

5- 2002ish - Bored of marking their mail as spam, I tried unsubscribing again and it worked.

That's the end of my story.

Re:double standard (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459947)

Yeah. Must not be a very smart learning machine... I've flagged everything in my yahoo inbox as spam for years, that had anything that wasn't an english lower-ascii charactor, and I'll be damned, that is what 99% of my spam still is.

Re:double standard (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460083)

Not sure. I opted out of all the Yahoo! stuff in the preferences a long time ago, and I don't get anything from them.

Re:double standard (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460091)

as someone who works for a spammer that has dealings with yahoo, take my word for it: all you're doing is verifying to the spammers that you exist.

Re:double standard (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460133)

I think I understand why you posted that one anonymous...

Net Neutrality? (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460273)

If Yahoo can block a request for an email from a specific domain, can my ISP (AT&T-Yahoo) decide to block search requests from a specific domain? Of course, Google would probably skip the blogging/Slashdot steps, and go straight for lawyer/courthouse steps.

Side issue, but I assumed that defining spam was training your personal filter, and not applied to the accounts of other people. Much like a spell-checker will highlight a persons name, and you select 'add it' so it won't get highlighted again. You are training a computer program to behave in a more sophisticated and intelligent manner.

Re:Net Neutrality? (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460417)

Both Google and Yahoo (not sure about Hotmail) use global spam filters that everyone trains, the idea being that the more training the filter gets, the more accurate it is. Seems there are flaws with that idea.

Re:Net Neutrality? (3, Interesting)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460467)

It's common practice for larger email providers to treat any large movements of personal training as indicative of the nature of an email(if a bunch of people tag it as spam for themselves, it must be spam for everyone, going into dns-blacklists, etc, even if a few people tag it ham). This is a single-provider example of what people do when they report spam to spamcop, except spamcop's blacklist expands the concept to more than one provider.

Just because your personal training data is used in a personal context, it doesn't mean it cannot be used, statistically(99% of people marked this as spam, block it at the smtp level, we're wasting cpu cycles receiving this).

You should be using a filter, not the spam reporting feature for this... What people delete unread is not(yet) tracked. What's flagged has spam carries a black mark...

Re:double standard (3, Informative)

Inquisitor911 (935895) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460433)

There's another reason for everyone to switch to Gmail.

Re:double standard (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460447)

Doesn't work for Hotmail, either, which is especially annoying, considering my IM client will then spam me, telling me that I've got mail.

List-Unsubscribe? (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459693)

Assuming the mailing list includes a List-Unsubscribe header, it would be nice for anti-spam software to use this header and avoid false positives.

Of course that could be used as a spammer to verify e-mail addresses, then again a better filter is more useful on the long run than assuming no malicious party will ever put your e-mail in a database.

Re:List-Unsubscribe? (4, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459977)

Umm... no.

I get a lot "to unsubscribe, mail to blah@blub..." spam. The reason is simple, when you do unsubscribe from the spam list, they know it's a valid and still active mail address.

You have no idea how much that increases your value as a spam target!

So when spamfilters automatically write to some unsub address instead of flagging something as spam, be prepared to be flooded with spam.

Re:List-Unsubscribe? (5, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460079)

Isn't Yahoo in an ideal position to make this sort of probing useless? Just redirect all non-existent traffic with an unsubscribe header to a daemon that requests to be unsubscribed... then if you keep getting mail, you either ignore it or you use it, since you have the largest pool of honeypot email addresses on the planet.

Likewise they could in theory hit unsubscribe on behalf of their customers and then grab the resultant traffic. Of course, this is more open to attack, as the attacker can just switch email addresses. But if you're also unsubscribing all non-existent traffic, I'd say this will actually begin to get a lot more expensive for the would-be spammer than Yahoo, and the spammer would just stop trying to brute-force Yahoo.

Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459757)

Get with the times and use RSS. Mailing lists are dead. R.I.P.

p.s. You can cry me a river about your lost ad revenue. I don't care. Get a new business model.

Re:Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459787)

Yes. Cause RSS is perfectly suited to follow threaded conversations. Sigh.

Re:Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted" (2, Interesting)

daeg (828071) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459837)

For things like True, it's perfect. It's what RSS was designed to do. True is not a mailing list like users@httpd is -- it's a bulk mailing, plain and simple.

I wonder if the author even tried to contact Yahoo. Some of my messages were being flagged as spam, I contacted Yahoo, and got a very easy tip on making sure my headers are all correct on outbound mail. I'm no longer flagged as spam via Yahoo. That was a year or so ago, though.

Re:Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459803)

Fine, but I don't want my email provider deciding something is spam because other users have marked it as spam. Unless I mark it as spam, it is not spam to me.

Re:Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted" (1, Interesting)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459853)

p.s. You can cry me a river about your lost ad revenue. I don't care. Get a new business model.

I would assume their ads are text these days, since all (well, most) modern email clients block images by default. Switching to RSS won't make text ads go away.

Re:Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted" (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459917)

No, they don't block images, they block hosted images. If you attach an image the proper way it should still be shown.

Re:Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted" (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460205)

Nope good email clients block *all* images (and all attachments of all kinds including javascript). I don't want my email covered in pink ponies thank you very much.

Re:Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459865)

Yes, because readers constantly polling for updates makes *much* more sense than the publisher just sending them out when they're made.

Re:Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted" (4, Insightful)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460361)

Bulk mail is still spam, even if it's "wanted"

Actually, no it isn't. Unsolicited mail is spam, a mailing list you consciously signed up for isn't. Just because you're too lazy to properly unsubscribe and thus reach for the 'This Is Spam' button to make it disappear doesn't make it spam.

But... (3, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459761)

Is this true?

Re:But... (2, Funny)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459895)

It is.

It's just that Yahoo! users won't know it.

Musical emails (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459855)

It's Yahoo.

If it's still like it used to be a few years ago at Yahoo when I first got online, a huge chunk of those email addresses aren't even owned by the original creators anymore. People create the addresses, sometimes they forget about them or the address was "disposable" anyways, hackers steal them, then mark stuff the original creator was actually reading as spam.

Seems to me ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459861)

When we start blocking legitimate email, the spammers win.

Understandable, but for long (0, Troll)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459911)

I think Yahoo can be forgiven thus far, as anyone who works in the hosting industry knows the nature of customer service in it.  That is, there are an awful lot of yahoos out there, as it were, that want you to make exceptions for their <insert_nonsense_here> all day, every day of the week, 365 days a year.  It is truly astonishing the number of clueless people there are in the hosting realted businesses.  And in the end, a sane person simply has to tune them out, as Yahoo has done, here.

So anyway, I suspect a Slashdot front page story will be sufficient to get the mailing list whitelisted.

Re:Understandable, but for long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460373)

Being in the hosting business, I can tell you there's NO excuse for Yahoo or AOL for that matter. They've put ultimate decisions about what is and isn't spam into the hands of those least capable of knowing the difference, and just compound the error, it's often easier to report mail as spam than delete it, leading to the painfully ignorant masses marking non-spam mail as spam instead of deleting it.

Re:Understandable, but for long (1)

epe (851815) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460597)

AOL does the same as yahoo... when their customers, instead of unsubscribing, they simply flag the mail as spam.

Re:Understandable, but for long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460487)

How is the parent a troll? it's a valid opinion

duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459915)

Isn't the solution to this pretty frickin easy.
Purge all yahoo addresses from the mailing list.
Block yahoo addresses from signing up.
Job done. Anyone who still really wants to be on the mailing list can use gmail or something else.
If yahoo wants to be stupid, why even think twice about it?

Re:duh (3, Funny)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460443)

How do you notify the existing Yahoo members they need to resubscribe at another email provider?

Mechanism for selection (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459923)

Maybe the problem is the mechanism for selecting mailing lists. Have all of these on a separate page with all un-checked by default, or have one of those "I understand what I am doing" mandatory check boxes. A lot of the time, sign-up pages are deceptive because they are also used to promote "partners."

120,000 subscribers total (3, Interesting)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459937)

Cassingham reports that there are over 120,000 subscribers to the mailing list for True from over 200 countries

Or so wikipedia claims. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_is_True [wikipedia.org]

Do you have any idea how utterly small that is? I'm surprised they can pay their bills with a list that small--even with a fraction of those being paid subscribers.

Re:120,000 subscribers total (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460485)

Do you have any idea how utterly unconnected list size is to the amount of revenue you can make?

I know folks that have a list as small as 500-1000 people that earn a six-figure income.

Plenty of variables involved, including relationship to list, level of interest, average cost of products, length of customer lifeplan, etc.

Don't judge a list by it's size.

The process is broken. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24459961)

Mailing lists are dead. They are a bad solution to the group communication problem. They aren't working well because they were a bad solution.

Use forums and/or RSS feeds.

That solution is more closely aligned with the problem that they are trying to solve.

They need an accreditation system (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459963)

If they really are demonstrably not spam and follow responsible practices and they are really profitable then they should contract with Goodmail or some other accreditation system and take mistaken users out of the picture.

Re:They need an accreditation system (2, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460145)

Those systems have more spammers than nonspammers signed up to them. It simply doesn't work... in fact some of them (the one that use haikus for example) they became a near 100% perfect spam detector.

we need a receipt after confirmation (4, Interesting)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459989)

When somebody subscribes to one of my mailing lists, and confirms, we need a token from the mailbox provider which, when included on an incoming email means that the email is NEVER spam. Spam reports get converted into unsubscribe requests.

But there's no standard for this.

Re:we need a receipt after confirmation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460275)

Russ,

I don't suppose you could provide some more details about how you do this? I'm looking at this exact same problem at work right now and would sincerely appreciate any pointers you may have.

Yours sincerely
Sir Harrok

Oh, grow up. (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460015)

Spam filtering is a problem for all mailing lists. Simple solution: use newsfeeds instead.

Re:Oh, grow up. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460465)

And when the ISPs stop delivering the newsfeeds?

Re:Oh, grow up. (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460535)

Newsfeeds are not "delivered", at least not in the sense that email is. Your newsreader retrieves them directly from the provider's HTTP server.

I gave up on my Yahoo email account (4, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460021)

I've had it for nearly 10 years. However, Yahoo's delivery of email into my account is sketchy at best.

.

Why can gmail (my new free email provider) do such a better job than Yahoo did?

Re:I gave up on my Yahoo email account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460329)

I recently transitioned to Gmail after 10 years with Yahoo as well. I had way too many false positives in the Spam folder.

Yahoo Mail customer service was a nightmare when I contacted them about the issue - they deleted my alternate email address (the one on my CV!) and said it could not be restored for 6 months. They told me to contact everyone I know and give them a new email address. Umm, okay...and the domain will be @gmail.com!

Oh NOES!! (1)

dkarma (985926) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460043)

Too bad the people who want to read the newsletter will have set up a forwarding email...boo hoo.

No surprise to me (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460051)

the amount of SPAM I get on my single Yahoo email account is tremendous.

To distinguish legimate emails is difficult, so the "select all -> SPAM" is the option for me to deal with this.

This email account is actually an annoyance - I tried closing it - impossible with more than reasonable effort. So - it's the quick SPAM option since I am no longer using this account.

In comparison - my several Gmail accounts do not attract very much SPAM and if so they get filtered.

My conclusion is that Yahoo's SPAM filters are not very much up to snuff.

Re:No surprise to me (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460297)

it's annoying...you tried closing it... Did you try simply not checking it anymore? Or does that not win you enough martyr points for the pain and suffering you go through from your free email? I've had yahoo mail for many years, as well as even hotmail (since long before it was with MS). I can go a week with either account, log in, and will have a dozen spam email in my inbox. Sure, there's lots in the spam box, but...so what. And I even use these accounts to sign up for things; hell, that's half the point of the accounts, is to be used for trivial crap like signing up for whatever registration of blah crap. Hardly an annoyance - hell, hardly something worth complaining about at all. Either you don't flag the right things to flag, you respond with "unsubscribe" to the wrong things, or you've subscribed yourself to way too many seedy sites.

Boot on other foot (1, Funny)

Arimus (198136) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460067)

How about we all configure our mail server to reject any mail from yahoo - that should cut down a fair bit of crap from my inbox... :)

Re:Boot on other foot (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460473)

Up until last week I would have disagreed with you - but then my wife switched to gmail :D

idiots who click on "this is spam" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460075)

most of them think it's a way of unsubscribing from a list.

Causes blacklisting for domains and hosting companies. I had a guy who forwarded his email address to an external address, then clicked on "This is spam" for every message. My IP was in the header so I got blacklisted. I had to scare the shit out of him to get him to stop "now that I've warned you, if you continue, I'll sue and take your house." Needless to say the customer did not renew, saved me the trouble of TOSsing him.

Re:idiots who click on "this is spam" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460595)

Yep, which is why users have no business being allowed to decide what is and isn't spam. They have no idea which is which and don't care.

Gmail users may also be at risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460087)

As it happens, I read about this Yahoo spam thing in a This Is True which I accidentally found from GMail's spam folder. And I have definitely not marked it as spam myself.

So, if there are TiT (heh) subscribers among the Slashdot crowd using Gmail, you might want to check your spam folder...

Easy workaround. (1)

dashesy (1294654) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460125)

Anybody who really wants the mailing list can put the email coming from it in the contact list. The mailing list should have an easy unsubscribe method, so that user do not mark the email as spam.

Re:Easy workaround. (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460265)

Anybody who really wants the mailing list can put the email coming from it in the contact list.

When Yahoo blocks somebody that gets reported as spam, they don't just update their spam filters - they forcibly block incoming SMTP traffic from the offending mail server. Further messages never make it past Yahoo's MX, let alone getting to individual spam quarantines.

I have fought my share of battles with their abuse department for the same reason as this mailing list, and it's a royal pain in the ass.

Sue 'em for Libel (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460127)

Don't fart around and don't wait. Accusations of being a SPAMmer with real negative economic consequences can easily be construed as libel, as SPAM has a legal definition. False accusation, leading to economic loss=decent probability of a win in a libel case. Yahoo allegedly has at least one or two professional people in their organization, and they fail to differentiate between a button for SPAM and something else, like an additional "just stop delivering this" button as an alternative. Tough shit for them and the cluless lusers who marked it as SPAM when it clearly wasn't. The list owner could sue both yahoo and individual numbnuts who were too lazy to follow the opt out link.

And I hope it carries over to those horribly maintained RBL lists as well, just try to plead your case to them when falsely accused of spamming.

Time to start nailing computer idiots and computer company professional idiots where it hurts. If you honestly and really just cannot use a computer, or are just too lazy to follow a few simple steps, just get the F off the net. Just get off. Some people just never can learn to drive, some people are just never going to be able to use the net. Just reality. This coddling of idiots has gone on too long, with widespread malware from the beast's bogus products making it easy to get pwned all the way to stuff like this where a big fat professional computer/internet company can't be arsed to do five minutes work before labeling something as SPAM and then costing some little guy his loot.

Subscription confirmations need to be standardised (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460185)

You know that email you get to confirm subscriptions? It should be in a standard format, containing a public key and an unsubscribe mechanism. That way, mailers would know for a fact that somebody opted-in and could provide an unsubscribe button instead of a spam button.

Perhaps this already exists? I know there are already some standard mailing list mail headers, but I don't think they cover this, do they?

Yahoo is dead, get out while you can (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24460209)

I gave up on Yahoo several months ago after an unknown person hijacked my account and changed the password. I don't log in from other computers, I only log in from the Mac in my bedroom, so it's not like I was creating a risk. I was paying Yahoo for a personalized "business" email address, yet it took three hours of phone calls, several emails and over three days to get them to turn my account back over to me. At one point, they told me they could not verify my identity with my name, phone number, mailing address and the credit card number they were billing. They said they couldn't unlock the account without me telling them what my security question was (which I chose 10 years ago), and the answer to that question. I told them, "that's not how security questions work. You ask me the security question and unlock my account when I provide the correct answer." When I finally did get back into my account, I discovered the hijacker had been contacting women through Yahoo personals posing as me, and in some cases telling them to "reply to my other Yahoo address." There were a few different addresses he was pointing people to. I notified Yahoo about this and asked them to investigate the fraud, and they told me it wasn't a priority for them. I migrated everything important to Google, and called Yahoo to cancel my account and transfer my personalized domain, but after hours of waiting on the phone, again, and again, they tell me they don't have the ability to release my domain. It's like dealing with a car salesman. As the company fails, it resorts to shadier practices to hold onto what it has, like AOL before it.

Such irony (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460409)

The irony is that This is True is one of the first profitable mailing lists, predating Yahoo! Mail by almost three years.

What's ironic about it?

[rhetorical question to highlight "irony" word abuse]

systemic problems with yahoo inbox delivery (5, Interesting)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460461)

I stopped using Yahoo about 4-5 years ago because of problems with inbox delivery. After many tests, their mail servers would respond that the message was Sent when in fact it was never delivered. I've tested it about 20-30 times since then and have the same issues. Even if you send mail from supposedly vanity domains like Gmail.com, the mail still never gets delivered. Yahoo has had problems before with the profiles.yahoo.com site getting infiltrated by spammers about 5-7 years ago, a problem they never solved. It seems like the problems don't go away -- they only get worse. This story is just one example.

AOL has a similar problem (4, Interesting)

John3 (85454) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460513)

I run a relatively small (2,000 subscribers) email discussion list for hardware store owners. I'm signed up as a mailing list provider with AOL's mail system, and I receive notifications when subscribers submit my list messages as spam. Apparently AOL's DELETE and REPORT AS SPAM buttons are relatively close together, though I can't verify this. I do know that I get notifications from AOL that a user has reported a message as spam, and when I contact the user they tell me it was a mistake and they didn't realize they had reported the message as spam.

My guess is that you have to reach a fairly high "critical mass" of spam reports before AOL will actually take action and block list messages. I've never had my list blocked by AOL (or Yahoo for that matter) so the occasional erroneous report doesn't seem to have much effect.

I wonder if Yahoo has a similar program for mailing list admins?

"slashing the ad revenue" (-1, Troll)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#24460623)

Sounds to me like it was correctly flagged as Spam.
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