Spam Wars: A Cooperative Approach to Enhanced Communication in our Industry

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 whitelist—so we can all benefit from the best use of our spam filters.

 
 

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.

Name:
Credit union name:
Phone:
Email:
 

 

 

Feb. 16, 2004


Comments

 
 
 
  • This is worth a try. Individuals don't have the time to create such a list but we all do so in some way or other.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Another interesting article related to this: http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3315541
    Anonymous