No, I Didn’t Spam Anyone

Published on 14 January 2008 in , , ,

Every now and then my email accounts suffer what I suspect many people who own domains do these days – log on to your email and find a couple of thousand emails saying “Message can’t be delivered” or that kind of ilk.

It’s the result of some lovely spammers putting in fake email addresses in the spam “From” address and it’s frankly a pain in the backside. As – for the time being anyway – all email to a address just gets sent through to a single email address, I end up wading through error after error. So much so that I now have standard filters to delete any “message not received” emails straight off. Which of course means that if I ever mistype an email address, and it doesn’t get through, I’m none the wiser.

Besides the annoyance of spamming-scum hijacking my domain name, and useful error messages getting lost in the soup, there’s a couple of other things about all this that rile me.

One is the complete inconsistency with error message titles. So far I’ve got five different email subject titles just to cover message rejections:

  • Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender
  • Delivery Status Notification (Failure)
  • Message Delivery Rejected
  • failure notice
  • Returned mail

And that doesn’t cover half of the reject messages I get. Is it really beyond a dream that someone couldn’t just come up with one single title which covers it and is used in every mail server (well in the English speaking world) – or better still, some email header which marks it clearly as an error. Perhaps there is – but mind you, Google Mail doesn’t allow me to filter on email headers so it wouldn’t be much use.

The second is the email titles of all those emails which come back to tell me “my” email has been blocked.

This might seem minor to some, but to me there’s a huge problem with them. For starters, they’re all accusing me. “The message you sent has been blocked by our spam filter” is a prime example.

What message that I sent? I didn’t send any message to anyone. I’m not a spammer. Someone is, but it’s not me.

In this day and age where perfectly innocuous, blame free, email addresses can get hijacked by the scum of the earth without people ever knowing, maybe it’s time to stop the automatic blaming of people who are far more than likely to be an innocent party. After all, how many spammers are sat there checking out their email error messages…