Category Archives: Avoid Spam Filters

AWeber Links Disabled by Gmail (temporarily)

Before you all freak out over this, it’s a false positive, I just got off the phone with AWeber and they are working with Gmail to clear this in a few hours…

This is a very short term block due to a single user sending (probably) a link to a hacked blog.

Here is what it looks like via Ryan Lee’s email today.

AWeber emails links disabled

And no, Ryan Lee is NOT the offender, just the victim of a Gmail drive by…

This will only affect your emails for a short period of time and only today.

SOLUTION: Don’t use Aweber link tracking today in your emails for now, and let AWeber get this False Positive cleared. AWeber assured me on the phone this will be cleared in a few hours.

Here is the official AWeber response:

Update – We have disabled all links redirecting to problematic URLs, and we are actively engaged in conversations with Google to have the alerts removed from emails sent through our service.
Jul 28, 09:37 EDT

Identified – We have identified an isolated incident of a website that uses AWeber has been infected by malware. As a response, Google has marked all links from AWeber customers using click tracking (redirecting through as potential malware. We are working with Google to clear the misapplied alert as well as the AWeber customer to resolve the isolated malware incident. Please know that the AWeber system has not been infected by malware. We apologize for any concern or inconvenience this has caused. Thank you for your patience.
Jul 28, 09:11 EDT

You will see a lot of bashing going on today. Don’t listen, AWeber is a solid mailer. This could have happened to any ESP – application.

YouTube Emails Going To The Gmail Spam Folder?

Is This Top 10 YouTube User’s YouTube Subscriber Alerts Going To Gmail Spam Because He Used Bitly In His Video Description?

You Tell Me…

So I ran into yet another of my favorite YouTube guys, Ray William Johnson, in my Gmail spam folder. And not some email from Ray, but his YouTube subscriber alert email I opted into on YouTube. An email list sent via the domain.

Screenshot of Ray Williams Johnson YouTube subscriber email in Gmail spam...

Click image for full size…

Here’s original video, it’s a hoot! Give it a play :]

WARNING: May not be safe for work (NSFW)

You can see the YouTube video live here… (including the bitly link)

So, Before I Pronounced This As A Bitly Filtering Error?

First I looked thru my first few pages of Gmail and found YouTube emails from other top channels like Mashable, Machinima and Philip DeFranco

In my social tab!

Screenshot of YouTube channel emails not in my Gmail spam folder

Next I searched my Gmail Spam Folder for “YouTube”…

I found 13 YouTube videos from Johnson’s channel in the Gmail spam folder in the last 30 days…

Screenshot of all of Ray Williams Johnson's YouTube subscriber emails in spam...

Oh, and yeah, before I forget, one of Google’s Own YouTube channel emails there as well!

So, Can I Say “Fore Shore” That The Bitly Link Is Sending This YouTube Channel To Spam?

No! Of Course Not… But-

No email deliverability consultant can ever say ANYTHING happens unequivocally for ANY reason. But we can make a pretty educated guess, can’t we?

The evidence is mounting here guys and I have certainly seen this before as social alerts to my Gmail Inbox carry over link shorteners with them, that are in major spam filter block lists.

Does that mean Facebook alerts, Google+ Alerts and Twitter Alerts with again, link shorteners in emails that are not trusted by Gmail and many other enterprise level blacklists and blocklists, are going to the Gmail spam folder?

I don’t fully know but take a look around you own Inbox and tell me what you think in the comments below…

I can certainly say that the Bit .ly link shortener is currently listed in one of the most serious URL blocklists I know of: the Spamhaus DBL and the Bitly .com domain is listed as malicious on another blocklist.

Why Even The Slightest Email Spam Filters Matter

6 1/2 Years Ago (to the day) Trend Micro Blocked My Site On A False Positive – I Ignored It As A Small Insignificant Mistake On Their Part And In The End, That Was A Major Mistake On My Part

You see, blocking of any type is indicative of a much larger problem, and usually it only gets worse. Most only think in terms of direct consequences, as I did in 2008.

image of trend micro blocking my site in the browser

Most emailers just want to get off blocklists and proceed to try to get what they see as a “false positive” removed and go back to mailing and making money.

I did the same in 2008. I just wanted to go back to making the $5,000 a week I had worked like a dog to build my business up to back then.

That is a great goal, and sure; we are all here to make money.

But being listed in spam filters -even in a small way- is really a Heads Up moment not to be ignored.

So let’s say you are being blocked in some small way. You will often see other blocking appear in a URL Blocklist later, when your emails send out links to the site. Or use the “from address” that are in the prior supposed “Insignificant” earlier blocking.

And then the slide begins. You begin to see SpamHaus blocking you, you begin to see short term listings in Barracuda Networks, or worse yet, in BackScatter.

But you will never actually -SEE- this occurring. Instead you will see open rates plummet, sales dropping off from your list and of course your CTR rate will plummet.

Now that you have the headache you will begin to look for a cure and guess what? An aspirin is not going to cure this one, it is here for good and it will just keep getting worse.

I have been through this with so many clients over the years. In the end it turns out that it is usually something really stupid and silly. Something totally unrelated to your core business that you would have never thought mattered.

Bottom line here guys, is if you are beginning to see spam filters of ANY type nipping away at your emails? Well then it’s time to sit down with your team, look at your entire business from your subscriber’s standpoint and see what they are seeing.

Why? Because opt in or double opt in list or not: Spam is in the eye of the beholder and it is not you, not the Anti Spam community that is blocking you or even in control of the blocking.

Today more than ever your own subscribers are in control of your email delivery. And when it comes to plying the Enterprise level filters that are out there today?

Well, they will side with not your subscribers that open, click and love your emails. They will side with the machines that say you sent spam.

Want to avoid most filtering altogether? Use this free tool to generate whitelist instructions for your sites!

Is Your Blog Insured?

Get your blog insurance and make Flo happy

Make flo happy, get your blog insurance image...

You would’t go drive around town in a new car with no insurance, right?
You wouldn’t depend on a business that anyone could walk right in, take everything you have, just help themselves and not even say thanks. Would you?

Right now hackers are trying to…

  • Break the password on your blog :[
  • Then just plain have their way with your website (ggrrrrrrrrrrr)

Anyone can use one 20 different content filtering systems to completely block your site and emails to your list!

These are enterprise level online blocklists, not just a local spam filter, when you get listed in these, the whole world blocks your site for no reason.

Then you go cry…

I bet you think this won’t happen to you, don’t ya?

I mean you are one of the good guys, you don’t need to worry about this stuff, right again?
HELL NO that’s not right, my 6 year old domain was blocked in 2008 and I lost everything. Just like that Internet Explorer, Trend Micro and just about every spam filter on Earth blocked me for no reason.
All because some kid with a free browser plugin flagged me as a “Bad Site”…

True story, and it still goes on today.

Can you believe that? I couldn’t… So I got to the bottom of this for you and for me.

I found 20 content filtering systems that completely block your site.

Anyone that knows about this can just type in your URL, click a button and POOF your site can’t be visited in the browser and any emails with your URL in them won’t get delivered.

Your competition could buy this info from me, and do god knows what. Believe me, it happens all the time.
But it’s not just about these blacklists, it’s about the fact that other systems like Internet Explorer’s malicious site filter takes input from these 20 content blocklists and then uses that to block your site on every Microsoft machine in the entire world.

So all it takes is one kid, with a free security plug in that does not like you and if you are NOT INSURED he can with a single click set about the process that will destroy every thing you have.

  • No one will tell you…..
  • No Corporation will send you an email….
  • No salesman will call…..

Your site just suddenly goes dead, traffic takes a long walk off a short pier, and well, you can guess the rest.

I almost lost my entire business in 2008!

In 2008 I went from 8 visitors a day to 30,000 a month. Worked like a dog to build that traffic too.

Then in one month I went from 30,000 visitors a month to less than 3,000, IN 2 Weeks!

All because some kid clicked a button and I wasn’t Insured.

If this happens to you, you can call me like hundreds have since I learned what I am going to share with you today….. And I can fix it :]

But just like bashed in cars, bashed in sites are expensive to fix when you don’t have insurance.

Just a few months ago a shopping cart was blocked for no reason, but because they did not have insurance 1000s of mom and pop sites could not take any payments for weeks.
Get your insurance here now, Mayhem is waiting just around the corner if you don’t go to the link below:

Get your blog insurance here…

Hurry, I am only in the insurance business a few more days, because fixing Mayhem is way more profitable than insuring it…

Picture of email Mayhem

Are You A Social Media Narcissist?

Image of Tony Soprano, social narcissist

It’s easy to tell if you are a social media narcissist, here’s how…

You start your computer, while it boots you pour the first cup of coffee to start your day.

You sit down, sipping on the steaming cuppa.

Then you open the browser and make the biggest mistake that any business owner can–

You load Twitter, Facebook or Goolge+ first thing. Because just like Tony Soprano you want to see what people are saying about you!

Or you want to see how many people followed you yesterday. And yeah, I was guilty of being a social narcissist in 2011 and 2012 because I was getting 300 new followers -at the minimum- a day.

Most never got why Tony waddled down the driveway to get the paper. Or why he would flip through the front pages of each section there at the end of the driveway. You were probably misled because if “The Family” did appear in the newspaper, he was usually ended up screaming at who got them attention.

But really, Tony Soprano was a narcissist. If The Sopranos were made today, Tony would have been checking Twitter on his phone each morning. Can you imagine a Sopranos of 2015? Christopher, Silvio, Paulie and Ralphie would be all about who was trending on Twitter each day!

But today? I am no longer a social narcissist. Why?

Because now I open my email first thing.

Now I want to see how many people signed up to my email list via my new Whitelist Generator landing page.

Another great lead funnel is on Stop The Fights. Take a look that this piece of lead funnel brilliance. See if you can decode how that one works.

Mornings these days are still spent starting with a cuppa…

But how I judge my success is no longer gauged by the numbers generated by some social site.

Instead I judge success by the number generated by my email list at :]

Email Delivery Jedi On Google+

UPDATE: Niche-ing out my sites now on G+.

First up is my WordPress, Website Security and Email Delivery site.

While I love G+ biz pages, I am looking forward to better marketing tools soon.

Cool page, but how do I convert followers there to where I really want to drive my traffic which is here? … ?

There really needs to be some better conversion tools for these pages, don’t you think?

Facebook Email Invites

Facebook Email by invite only, non friends are blocked by default and more…

Zuckerberg says “But it’s not email…”

“It’s not e-mail. It handles e-mail in addition to Facebook messages, and Facebook IM, and other IM and SMS and all the other different ways that you want to communicate,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s true, people are going to be able to have e-mail addresses, but it’s not e-mail.”

  • Incoming mail to a account will be blocked by default if you are not mutual friends on Facebook.
  • From the data that had been researched by Compete Pulse, the growth of web-based email users as a whole decreased by approximately 11% from year to year.
  • By this study, email will cease to expand at all within less than nine years, and the decline of email has already begun.
  • Zuckerberg said no voice or video chat will be available soon, but that option may come into play depending on demand for it.
  • As marketers, those of us who create large followings on popular content delivery streams, think Twitter, YouTube, Google Buzz and Facebook, will be positioned to better survive and even thrive into the next decade.
  • In my personal testing in the last 3 years, email still converts better than any social medium, the idea is to get your social following into your autoresponder / email list.
  • If you are going to accept Facebook email addresses in your autoresponder forms, stressing how to whitelist your email address will be very important.
  • Want to try Facebook email for yourself? Invite only….

Get your Facebook email invite here!

You can request a Facebook email invitation here….

Let us know what you think about Facebook’s Inbox in the comments below…

Facebook Email Inbox – New Delivery Nightmare?

A Facebook email delivery process makes me shiver even in sunny Arizona, here’s why….

Before you label this as Facebook bashing and bounce, I want to make it clear this is about email delivery, it has nothing to do with Facebook, this is about Getting your email to the Inbox.

With TechCrunch’s Friday rumor that Facebook will be launching their own Facebook inbox Monday….

Facebook’s secret Project Titan — a web-based email client that we hear is unofficially referred to internally as its “Gmail killer”. Now we’ve heard from sources that this is indeed what’s coming on Monday during Facebook’s special event, alongside personal email addresses for users.

Our understanding is that this is more than just a UI refresh for Facebook’s existing messaging service with POP access tacked on. Rather, Facebook is building a full-fledged webmail client, and while it may only be in early stages come its launch Monday, there’s a huge amount of potential here. – TechCrunch

TechZine made these points on Why You Won’t Use Facebook Email….

  • You’re already accustomed to your current email provider
  • Facebook’s privacy issue rows are at the back of your mind
  • Facebook is already well branded for what they are and that’s not an email service

Well that’s the usual TC pro Facebook stance, here’s what I have to say as a guy that makes his living off his email delivery rate….

With Facebook users first of all swamped with spam, group invites, MLM offers, Farmville alerts and so many unskilled marketers out to try to somehow make money off their time investment in Facebook…, I am NOT looking forward to seeing email addresses in my autoresponder stream.

As an email delivery consultant, I am thinking that FaceBook mail users are going to be very apt to click the spam button on you more so than other web mail clients.

Not to mention, just what we don’t need as marketers sending email to our double opt in lists is yet another email provider without a email whitelisting process, an unknown filtering process, no feedback loop and no experience in the good use of filtering.

Or as malicious as Facebook is at banning say…, an email series on YouTube rankings just because it promote’s a networking process that is pro Google. Or sending email to your list linking to something critical of Facebook. Being critical of Facebook will not get you any love, your email list loves Facebook, believe it or not they are very loyal. I would say if this blog post landed in a inbox it would draw spam button clicks simply in retaliation.

Or say Joe Jobs on Facebook, or sending lots of spam with links to your content, poorly skilled affiliates sending tons of links with your ClickBank products in them, or posing as you and getting you kicked off Facebook. I could go on and on. For now I will be considering denying Facebook email address in my autoresponder forms.

I will be back on Tuesday, till then watch this….

I will be back here Tuesday with the results of Facebook’s announcement, till then watch this eye opening video on raising your click thru and open rates in this CTR video with Sean Donahoe. I even learned a lot from Sean and I am taking this test data seriously and it’s worth 5 minutes of your time….

Can’t wait to hear your feedback on this, tell me in your comments below Please!

How To Screw Up Your Email Delivery

How To Screw Up Your Email Delivery, confuse your subscribers and get stuck in spam filters in one quick email or less

I do a lot of local speaking here in Phoenix where we have decided to settle for now.

So I get a lot of email from the MeetUp groups I participate in. But today one of my favorite MeetUps just really demonstrated with is wrong with most small emailers and I just have to share that with you for your own good.

If you are in the Phoenix area I highly recommend Club Entrepreneur. It is a great home for networking, the main floor holds up to 150 seats for public speaking, conference rooms and office space abounds as well. This is a great entrepreneurial setting for any business.

What they lack are Internet Marketing skills.

So here is the list of their mistakes. Are you making these bad moves too?

  • Putting HTML in the text box…
  • Putting text in the HTML box…
  • Using a free email address in the from field
  • Sending email from a social site that gets filtered easily
  • Creating multiple social groups and double emailing
  • Using digest emails with little focus
  • All of the Above…

Here’s the details of the mistakes made by my friends at Club E (short for Club Entrepreneur).

Putting text in the HTML box…

I see major Internet marketers make this mistake all the time. In AWeber in the broadcast and the autoresponder interface there are two textareas that you can enter text in.

One is designated HTML and one is designated text. The HTML box is at the top of the AWeber interface, the text box is below that. Do not accidentally enter plain text in the HTML box by mistake. Your links will not be clickable in Outlook or other email clients as in my Outlook screen shot below.

You may not be catching this mistake if you are sending test emails to a web mail or free email browser account.

Solution: Always test your emails first both in a web client and always in Outlook.

Click image to see full size.

Using a free email address in the from field

It is the reply to field that is the problem here. Free email addresses set off spam filters, proven fact.

Set all your email distribution settings to the main account on your domain. That way you can set all accounts to one reply to address and control where replies are going to. Don’t spray replies to your emails all over the web on free accounts. You email replies are your best source of feedback, sales, clients and return traffic.

Either that or use the default for a social site like MeetUp, so the reply address is their domain. Never ever use a free email address as the reply to or from field. Why? Because it is what spammers do. Look at any spam you receive and it will almost always come from a free email address in the from field and or the reply to address.

Click image to see full size.

Sending email from a social site that gets filtered easily

Most users manage their lists thru The bad news is that most groups manage their email lists thru Tons of spam posts get posted to MeetUp boards and the default settings on any MeetUp group sends and email to the group members. So, I am guessing that the spam button gets clicked a lot.

Solution: Get members of MeetUp into your main site’s autoresponder. Howie Schwartz said it first and best: “Drag your followers on the social site out and into your own autoresponder”…

Creating multiple social groups and double mailing

My Friends at Club E have two different MeetUp groups. That means to mail all the members they have to double email. That creates confusion and double mailings at the members inbox many times within minutes of each other. Bad idea, avoid this at all costs.

Solution: Mail well in advance, and if you have multiple groups don’t mail them all on the same day within a few minutes of each other. Craft unique emails for each group and for your list.

Using digest emails dilutes the focus and lessens return

Lastly, if you look at the emails above, they are digest emails. Digest emails suck when it comes to getting your subscribers to do what you want. In fact, digest emails cause confusion, get caught in filters because spam many times has tons of links and usually perform poorly.

I suggest sending digest emails on the front end if you must, then send follow up emails that are focused on one action you want the members of your list to take.

All of the Above…

Let’s hope you are not making these kind of errors in your email marketing. If you are then you really need to learn how to “Get It To The Inbox” now more then ever.

What do you think? Tell us!

Let me know in the comments below. I want to hear from you, your best practices and what has failed and what has succeeded for you in the comments section below.

Links to your creatives are welcome below. Don’t be shy!

The New Gmail Spam Filter

The Gmail new spam filter is really Google Friend Connect, disguised as a friends list the levels of permission now available in Gmail is a very effective spam filter.

This is an excerpt from my social marketing members only site. This is the kind of thinking and leading edge use of GFC you will find there.

This one should really blow your socks off. Google Friend Connect and the Google friends list in Gmail is not a friends list. It is a spam filter. Stay with me here this is really good stuff…

There are four levels of spam filtering in Gmail.

  • Sites we have joined thru the Google Friend Connect widget.

  • Sites you have not joined.
  • Gmail users not listed in your contacts.
  • Gmail users who are listed in contacts and friends lists in Gmail.
  • Those that are listed in Chat.
  • Those listed in Google Latitude.

Thinking about Google the other day and the fact that I get so little spam that this just rolled right in. Many of you have followed me for a while now and you remember back to when a mistaken Trend Micro false positive destroyed my business.

What I never explained is that my Google friends list as well as my social contacts in Facebook are what saved me. The only reason I continued to deliver email to anyone was thru my Gmail friends list. Because I was a very early adopter of Google Friend Connect and was out to build a list in Gmail early on, I had many mutual friends in the eyes of Google.

When you become mutual friends in any of the Google applications: GFC widgets, Gchat, Google Lattitude, you are automatically added, your Gmail address that is, to each other’s Gmail contacts list.

Now as a social marketer, I think that is cool, however from an email standpoint, getting your email to the Inbox is how you make money. What easier way is there than getting you visitors to friend you thru a GFC widget?

Then Google does you work for you! There is also no whitelisting process for email delivery in Gmail and no public FBL (feed back loop) for receiving spam button click complaints. These are the basic necessities we use as emailers to keep getting our email delivered.

Google has replaced this process by using levels of trust. I am just theorizing here so I cannot say this is fact and we will never know if it is.

Google levels of trust

Level of trust #1.Let’s say you have joined my site thru the GFC widget on your right. Then Google would definitely deliver email from that site to your Gmail inbox. Since it was YOU who established the relationship.

Level of trust #2. Let’s say that you and I are mutual friends made through GFC and now have each others address in our Gmail contacts. I would say our emails to each other would definitely get delivered.

Level of trust #3. Let’s say that I have sent you a chat invitation and you have accepted and we now both show in each others chat widget. I would say this is an even higher indicator that our emails to each other should go directly to the Inbox.

Level of trust #4. Let’s say you have sent me a Google Latitude request and you and I now share our locations at what ever level in Google Latitude. I would hazard to say that our emails are DEFINITELY going to land in each others Inbox at this point.

Can you see how Google is using what normally is a social site to better deliver what we want all want? I don’t know about you but I want NO SPAM and I want my EMAIL NOW, not after searching the spam folder for an hour.

This only happens when you use a Gmail address. You only get the advantage of these social features when you use a Gmail address to log into Google applications like Google Lattitude. So go get one. If you do not understand how to set up Google Friend Connect properly you can get my FREE Google Friend Connect Tutorial here and watch my Google Friend Connect YouTube Channel here.