Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
An error caused my newsletter to come "From" the wrong address. Flooded with challenge/response mails I wonder: what other messages are you missing?
Due to an error on my end, my newsletter came "From:" the wrong email address.
As a result, in addition to the usual annoying flood of "I'm not in the office right now, but I'll get back to you..." messages (nearly 100 by now), I also continue to receive an equal number of challenge/response email messages.
You know the messages I mean - message that often begin with: "I'm protecting myself from receiving junk mail. Please click the link below to complete the verification process."
Uh ... no. I can't. I'm afraid I just don't have the resources to click through or jump through additional hoops for 100+ messages like this.
But, honestly, it's not really about me - I'm very concerned about you...
... and what else you might be missing.
First, let's clear up what happened to my newsletter.
Normally the newsletter comes "From:" leo<at>ask-leo.com (*), but this newsletter accidentally came from leo<at>pugetsoundsoftware.com.
So, check your address books, spam filters, challenge response tools and add leo<at>pugetsoundsoftware.com to white list that email address. (Typically a good thing to whitelist anyway, since if I ever respond to a question you submit, it'll be from that address.)
Not getting an issue of my newsletter is not a huge deal. I'll fix the "From:" address for the next email newsletter and all should be as it once was.
At least with respect to Ask Leo!.
Here's my concern for you: I'm not alone in ignoring challenge response.
What other emails are you missing?
What other more important emails are you missing?
Your bank probably doesn't respond to challenge/response. Your credit card company probably won't. Neither will the online store you just purchased something from.
What messages are you missing from them?
Yes, I know, you can proactively whitelist the email address you expect email to come from; heck, it's what I ask you to do when you sign up for my newsletter.
But do you? Do you even know what email address you should expect email to arrive from? There are even mailers that (legitimately, though admittedly annoyingly) use any of several "From:" addresses, such that whitelisting one won't guarantee that you'll get the next.
Yes, I also know that messages not responded to are often quarantined for your review.
Do you do so quickly enough, or do you find yourself missing time sensitive emails because challenge/response delayed them?
As you can guess by now I'm not a fan of challenge/response at all. It puts the burden of spam on everyone else who tries to send you legitimate email.
That being said, it can work. If,
IF you always proactively add email addresses to the tools whitelist.
IF those addresses never change without warning.
IF your challenge/response service quarantines un-verified emails and you check that quarantine frequently enough.
IF you don't mind pushing the cost of protecting your inbox onto all the people who want to send you legitimate email.
If all those "if's" are OK with you, then absolutely - challenge/response systems can stem the tide of email.
Both good and bad.
Use a good spam filter. (I'm quite happy with Google's, and route all my email through it.)
Learn to use the spam filter in your own email program or service.
Finally, and I know this annoys many people when I say it, for the spam that still makes it through stop stressing and just use the delete key liberally. The amount of time that people put into stressing about spam and dealing with lost email due to challenge/response is way more, I'm sure, than if they'd simply hit the delete key on spam and gone on with their life.
Obviously, do what you feel you need to, but at least do so with full awareness of the annoyances, risks and hidden costs.