Reasons why personalization of the To/From are a bad idea...
Chuq Von Rospach
Wed Nov 13 18:10:30 2002
Having run with the personalization for a while (and only now getting
around to updating to CVS so I can turn off the header mods), I have
three reasons why doing the to/from personalization turn out to be a
bad idea.. FYI.
1) One of my lists has been hit badly by a couple of subscribers with
the Klez virus that evidently didn't know it and weren't fixing their
machines. I finally posted a note to the list telling everyone to check
their frigging machines and to run anti-virus software, because if I
had to track down the sites sending the viruses to the list, those
sites would be banned (FWIW, I did end up putting IP blocks against two
sites, which stopped most of the noise).
One subscriber, a few days later, wrote back to me demanding a personal
apology on the list. She thought that since her name was in the "to"
line, I'd accused HER PERSONALLY of being virus ridden on the list. I
nicely pointed out that if she looked at any message sent through the
list over the last few weeks, they all were formatted that way, and
that I didn't see that an apology was necessary. she hasn't responded
to that message.
2) I'm learning just how many people write vacation bots that filter
responses based on assumptions of what the To/CC lines will say. I know
they're not supposed to do that. I tell them that. But a lot of people
do, and so a lot of "I'm out of the office" blats are going out to
people posting to mailing lists because of it.
3) I can't prove this, but... Since I went to To/From header
personalization, I've started getting complaints about mail not getting
to AOL users. It's intermittent. My logs clearly show AOL accepting the
mail. And then it -- disappears. So it looks like something about those
headers makes AOL suspicious. I had a fair number of complaints just
after the upgrade which I took to either being confusion causd by the
header changes or AOL not catching things right, and then it more or
less went away, but now, I'm again seeing occasional complaints from
people who I don't think are confused or mistaken. So it looks like
that to/from combo isn't totally compatible with whatever AOL is doing
as far as spam sniffing.
I'm turning it back off, because the feedback I've gotten from users
has been generally pretty negative. message personalization seems to be
a good thing, but those header changes just didn't go over with my
users, and I've given it extra time to make sure it's not just a case
of "new and different, therefore icky".
Chuq Von Rospach, Architech
firstname.lastname@example.org -- http://www.plaidworks.com/chuqui/blog/
Very funny, Scotty. Now beam my clothes down here, will you?
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