Welcome to the spam-trap

21 October 2006

Here's a little hint for PRs who think putting small logos in their emails is a really neat idea. It's not. It's a good way to end up in the spam-trap.

Like a lot of people, I have two lines of spam defence. One is on the mailserver, courtesy of good old SpamAssassin. The second line is the email client which, in my case, is Entourage. Its spam filter is fairly effective and has worked that a lot of spam messages have little GIFs embedded in them in an attempt to work around the Bayesian text filters.

What this means is that all those companies that think they're clever for having worked out how to format their emails prettily and stick little images of "PR Company of the Year" trophies and their logos in them are finding that the emails just wind up floating around with over-the-counter stock spam. Sometimes, I fish the messages out of the bin and, if they are really lucky, the senders get whitelisted.


Thanks for this. I've never really understood why it's important for the press to see logos on releases, anymore than I understand client's desires to place empty quotes in the text. Now I have a little ammunition to blunt the effort.

As ever, the theory is nice but the world is far different. To get around this technique, spammers require only to initiate with a guide from a valid email - a template from a larger, general, established mailing list. The false positive value would then shoot high enough that nobody would employ this method of spam filtering.

[I'm leaving this one up but have deleted the spammy link as an example of how spam comments have slowly got more relevant to the posts - this one is close but, still, no cigar]