Sick of receiving junk email but worried that your spam filter might stop
messages you do want to receive? What if you could set up a comprehensive
list of organizations in the credit union community that you wanted to receive
e-mail from, without manually choosing who those people were? Sound too good
to be true? It’s not really. Callahan’s is currently working on
developing a profile of the industry’s “legitimate” email
addresses—a credit union industry White List—so we can all benefit
from the best use of our spam filters.
If your organization is anything like ours, for the past year or two your
IT staff and technology partners have been trying desperately to deal with
the flood of unsolicited e-mail spam into your network. Our experiences with
this have been frustrating to say the least. Each solution tested inevitably
suffered one of two undesired outcomes: either not enough spam was identified,
or the systems were too strict and did not allow some legitimate e-mail through
the filter. The latter case, the ‘false positive’ rejection of
legitimate e-mail, is much more worrisome to our staff.
It’s one thing to have to put up with the inconveniences of manually
sorting through e-mail to determine what should be read and what is spam.
But it can be another problem altogether you do not receive important messages.
At Callahan’s, our spam filter has “trapped” desired messages
including not only e-newsletter subscriptions and opportunity notices that
were relevant to our business, but also individual emails sent by clients
asking for product support or in reply to requests of our own.
Can you imagine if the post office or phone company wasn’t fully reliable?
An unanswered e-mail is akin to an unanswered voice mail message or letter
lost in the mail. Yet this is what happens every day with e-mail and is what
continues to drive IT staff crazy. One can only begin to imagine the aggregate
amount of resources that has already been spent on spam-related issues. We
knew early on that developing a better approach to reducing the false-positives
had to be at the forefront of our spam fighting priorities.
The White List
Most spam software packages enable your IT administrator to set up a trusted
group of e-mail senders - known as a “White List.” Here at Callahan’s
we have realized great success in dramatically reducing the occurrence of
false positive captures by our spam filters through the implementation of
such a White List. We developed this by tapping into our credit union database,
and teaming up with established industry organizations and agencies. The list
currently contains over 3,000 entries but is still not perfect and continues
to evolve every day.
A Collective Opportunity
In some of our recent talks with CreditUnions.com readers we feel that there
is an opportunity to take a collaborative approach to improve the effectiveness
of e-mail correspondence within the entire credit union community. Open sharing
and active participation in the collaborative evolution of a Credit Union
Industry White List could benefit everyone using email to do business.
If you would like access to this White List and are interested in helping
to improve its effectiveness please contact us by filling out the form below.
Our research and experience tells us that there is still no perfect solution
to the spam dilemma. Completely eliminating both spam and the ‘false
positives’ may not be possible with today’s Internet architecture.
It’s not the fault of the technology, but instead the sophistication
of the spammers and in many cases the poor configuration of the spam solutions
that are purchased. An industry developed and shared White List approach will
not be the silver bullet solution to our spam woes, but it could provide better
results then if we all go it alone.