spam detector

Automailer Spam Test scores and what they mean for your eDM’s

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The most important point is that your eDM message is being seen by your targeted audience, correct?

If so, it needs to get there first before it can be seen.

Automailer Spam test is an effective content based Spam filter test tool, using a scoring system where messages are tagged as Spam only when they have enough Spam characteristics in total. A properly managed Automailer Spam test correctly identifies 90% – 95% of Spam.

If your message score’s a 5 in the Spam test, this means that there are 5 counts of Spam characteristics found in your message and you may risk facing deliverability issues, whilst scores of greater than 10 will frequently develop delivery issues. Enform advises that any eDM you intend to send out to your database will have a higher chance of successful delivery if the Spam count is less than 5, in comparison to an eDM that has a Spam count of 5 or more.

Spam Assassin is the largest open source Spam filtering engine and they have provided some basic rules to avoid deliverable issues and warnings. Below is an explanation of some of the more popular content-based filtering rules you might see, along with some suggestions on how to avoid them.

Please keep in mind that some of these filters go against the grain of best practice email marketing however, at least your message is more likely to get through. Note that these apply to both Subject line and message body but it’s important to remember that the Subject line is arguably the most important to get right :

  • “Click here/ Click on the link below for details” – Avoid using this phrase as Spam tests triggers a warning when it sees this on the body of the email. Try and rephrase, instead use “read more” or “follow the link”.
  • A WHOLE LINE (OR MORE) OF CAPS – Spam tests look for whole sentences that use CAPS, usually seen in the Subject line. Avoid using CAPS regardless as it is equivalent to shouting at your customers.
  • $$$ sign – Do not use the ‘$’ symbol consecutively, Spam tests examine the body of the message for any phrases that contain ‘$$$’. Only use it when needed, for instance, when you quote the price of a product.
  • “Free” or “FREE offer” – this is probably the most common word that sends Spam alerts. It can be difficult to avoid using this word if that is the message you would like to come across. Instead, use it in the body of the message and avoid using CAPS. DO NOT use ‘FREE’ in the subject line.
  • Heavy use of images – Spam tests examine messages that are graphic heavy or contain strange images. As a rule of thumb, emails must not be composed of over 40% image coverage. Text on the other hand, must be at least 60% larger or more prominent than images. Read more.
  • Messages sent on weekends are more likely to be identified as Spam than messages sent on weekdays.

It is sometimes difficult to ensure your eDM is clear of all content based filters. However, it is important to avoid having any of the above in the Subject line. This is the first thing people will see, if the subject line contains word such as “offer”, “free” or “special”, otherwise your message may be consequently regarded as Spam mail.

If it is necessary to use words or characters that are regarded as Spam characteristics, only include them within the body of the message and be mindful of the way you phrase an offer for a product or to notify customers of a special offer.

Enform Automailer has Spam and mail client test capability built in to help you check your message and ensure you get maximum audience engagement and conversion. Remember, too often we obsess over how our messages are seen by recipients, in reality, they are never perfect. However, no one will see them if they don’t even get through.

Always be wary of your intended audience and ensure you test your eDM before sending. Enform’s Automailer service can assist with targeted delivery of your eDMs by maintaining a thorough client database so you can ensure that your messages are being sent to the right people.

Alternatives to Captcha for Spambot Prevention

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spambot alternative

The email subscribe form is about as annoying as it is useful, especially if you haven’t thought of a way to prevent it from being abused by spambots and automated systems programmed to sign up and input bogus data.

At Enform, we reckon double opt-in and captcha safeguards are by far the most common security features against this problem, but they’re not exactly perfect.

What Can Spambots Do?

More often than not, spambots are merely annoyances, filling up your subscribers lists with fake information—easily removable. There are, however, times when spambots can leave spamtrap email addresses on your lists, which can be a nightmare to fix.

While we’ve built Enform’s Automailer to have sufficient defences against these issues, it still pays to know a fewDIY-style remedies against spambots.

CaptchasDo More Harm than Good

Captchas, those computer-generated images with codes users have to type in, are a good way to protect your subscribe forms from spambots, but they also end up penalising innocent users who simply want to complete a form.

In email subscribe lists, this translates to fewer signups due to the inconvenience of captches; in your zeal to eliminate spambots, you end up hitting genuine signups too. Think about it, you don’t want to keep jumping through hoops when filling up a form.

Captcha Alternatives

Here are much simpler alternatives to traditional captchas.


A friendly and simple alternative is the “Checkbox Captcha”, a simple and straightforward tool placed at the end of forms before submission to confirm that the user is not a spambot. This solution makes use of client-side javascriptit, keeping it hidden and inaccessible to spambots.

The catch? Not all users have Javascript-enabled browsers.

Honeypot Captchas

A solution we favour is the Honeypot Captcha, which is visible only to spambots and hidden by CSS that requires no Javascript. Ergo, in the event that a user with a screen reader sees it, you can simply place instructions that say “leave me unchecked if you’re not human” next to it.

We would like to hear your ideas and problems with spambots, the better to help us update our spambot defences. Let us know your thoughts.