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Standard User GonePostal
(committed) Mon 15-Mar-21 13:54:47
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Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


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I run a couple of competitions in our local community where I keep the scores and league tables updated on my web-site hosted by IONOS. Every week I send out update e-mails from my e-mail account on the web-site domain which include links to the various updates.

At random intervals, these e-mails are bounced from recipients with @btinernet.com addresses without the recipients being notified by BT that the e-mails have been intercepted. The reason given in the returned e-mail message is "Your message looks like SPAM or has been reported as SPAM". Messages without links are delivered as expected.

This sort of application of a draconian BT process is worrying on two counts. Firstly, why should I have to take any special steps (like obfuscating the links) in perfectly legitimate e-mails in order to sidestep the BT thought-police? Secondly, how many e-mails are not being delivered to @btinternet.com recipients without their knowing of the interception? There may be some sort of time-critical or mission-critical information that is not being delivered with the recipient being none the wiser.

Are there any steps I can take to make sure that my legitimate e-mails are allowed to pass through the BT iron curtain?
Standard User John_Gray
(member) Mon 15-Mar-21 17:46:44
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: GonePostal] [link to this post]
 
We used to send out newsletters to about 150 staff and volunteers for our charity, and the only ones which ever bounced were those with BT-associated email addresses. We spent several months arguing with the BT techies, who were quite spectacularly unhelpful and awkward.
[I could have been [i]considerably more forceful in my choice of words...]

We eventually gave up, and asked our people who had BT-email-addresses to get a Gmail address, or another alternative. Those who wouldn't or couldn't, we had to sent out individual newsletters to each person's BT-email-address as the only addressee.

Edited by John_Gray (Mon 15-Mar-21 17:48:32)

Standard User jabuzzard
(experienced) Mon 15-Mar-21 23:51:06
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: John_Gray] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by John_Gray:
Those who wouldn't or couldn't, we had to sent out individual newsletters to each person's BT-email-address as the only addressee.


Noting in 2020 if you don't do that then well nice GDPR violation for you.


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Standard User GonePostal
(committed) Tue 16-Mar-21 01:46:23
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: jabuzzard] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jabuzzard:
In reply to a post by John_Gray:
Those who wouldn't or couldn't, we had to sent out individual newsletters to each person's BT-email-address as the only addressee.


Noting in 2020 if you don't do that then well nice GDPR violation for you.


A lot of postings going out using bcc are in big trouble then.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 16-Mar-21 07:57:02
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: GonePostal] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by GonePostal:
Are there any steps I can take to make sure that my legitimate e-mails are allowed to pass through the BT iron curtain?


How are you sending the mail? Directly from your own virtual server, or through a service?

Make sure you have set up both SPF and DMARC on your domain & host that is sending mail. Check that the IP address of your web server (is it virtual or shared hosting plan?) has not been reported as a spammer in the blacklist databases.

Or outsource it so mail chim, constant contact, or one of the other companies that do this large mail deliveries for you.

21 years of broadband connectivity since 1999 trial - Live BQM
Standard User gomezz
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 16-Mar-21 08:36:21
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: John_Gray] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by John_Gray:
we had to sent out individual newsletters to each person's BT-email-address as the only addressee.
Are there not utility programmes which can automate this process? I would be surprised if there were not given how useful spammers would find them.

BT Infinity 1 (unlimited)
Standard User GonePostal
(committed) Tue 16-Mar-21 09:19:10
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jchamier:
In reply to a post by GonePostal:
Are there any steps I can take to make sure that my legitimate e-mails are allowed to pass through the BT iron curtain?


How are you sending the mail? Directly from your own virtual server, or through a service?

Make sure you have set up both SPF and DMARC on your domain & host that is sending mail. Check that the IP address of your web server (is it virtual or shared hosting plan?) has not been reported as a spammer in the blacklist databases.

Or outsource it so mail chim, constant contact, or one of the other companies that do this large mail deliveries for you.


That's all a bit above my pay-grade, I'm afraid. IONOS host my domain and allow a number of e-mail addresses using that domain. I have one of those addresses as my main personal account which I use to send the e-mails in question. However, sending an identical message from a gmail account brings the same rejection so it seems more likely that btinternet.com are classifying as spam on the basis of the message content (i.e. one or more hyperlinks) rather than source. Beyond that I have no idea of the back office workings. I'm certainly not looking to get into complicated things like outsourcing perfectly legitimate e-mails with a circ. list of no more than 50 for what is only a bit of fun for all those involved rather than a serious commercial transaction.

At the bottom of it all, even if btinternet.com apply a far stricter policy than many e-mail providers, at least they should be letting the recipient know that what could be an important e-mail has been blocked.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 16-Mar-21 10:03:37
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: GonePostal] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by GonePostal:
However, sending an identical message from a gmail account brings the same rejection so it seems more likely that btinternet.com are classifying as spam on the basis of the message content (i.e. one or more hyperlinks) rather than source.
That's useful data.

At the bottom of it all, even if btinternet.com apply a far stricter policy than many e-mail providers, at least they should be letting the recipient know that what could be an important e-mail has been blocked.

No they can't. Neither does Gmail, or Outlook.com. This is a problem of scale.

All mail providers receive thousands of millions of emails per day, of which 90% are deleted as spam. Your "reply" is probably an auto response from the mail server saying "I don't accept the mail from you", which is slightly different.

Email is free for the sender, the recipient organisation pays all the money, and LOTS of money is spent protecting mailboxes from junk mail.

I think your suggestion to your recipients of using a different email service is a good idea, but if you hit the same problem with the other service, then you may have to review why you are triggering the protection.

21 years of broadband connectivity since 1999 trial - Live BQM
Standard User ukwiz
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 16-Mar-21 10:57:33
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jchamier:
Or outsource it so mail chim, constant contact, or one of the other companies that do this large mail deliveries for you.


Even using MailChimp doesn't always work with BT Internet addresses.The BT Internet servers will accept the email, but once it is inside their systems then they can "lose" it on the way to a recipient.

This seems to be entirely random as some of the recipients get their copy, and others don't.

David

BT (poor) -> Zen (excellent) -> O2 (started well, went downhill -> IDNet (No complaints - but 100GB cap) -> Zen (gone downhill)
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 16-Mar-21 11:07:57
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: ukwiz] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ukwiz:
Even using MailChimp doesn't always work with BT Internet addresses.The BT Internet servers will accept the email, but once it is inside their systems then they can "lose" it on the way to a recipient. This seems to be entirely random as some of the recipients get their copy, and others don't.

ISP email has often been "odd"; and one reason why the likes of Gmail / Outlook.com and similar appeared smile

21 years of broadband connectivity since 1999 trial - Live BQM
Standard User cymru123
(member) Tue 16-Mar-21 21:17:34
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: GonePostal] [link to this post]
 
SPF, DKIM signature and DMARC Policy and other headers such as list-unsubscribe (for mailing lists) are taken into account to work out email reputation along with blacklists and the content/body.

For personalised mass emails I use python with Mailchimp APIs, office365 mail servers and setting headers such as list-unsubscribe and list-unsubscribe-post and ensuring emails are appropriately signed and checking DMARC reports.
Standard User GonePostal
(committed) Tue 16-Mar-21 22:07:46
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: GonePostal] [link to this post]
 
Well thanks to everyone for the replies.

Trying to draw it all together, it looks as if for normal social use by a domestic customer then btinternet.com have a vice-like grip and there is nothing the sender can do to alleviate the problem. One or two of the recipients for my weekly e-mails have supplied me with alternative addresses from the likes of gmail or hotmail but that is a step too far for other users who have always used the GPO for their phone and who have just added internet to their decades old relationship.

Is it just me, or is the current btinernet.com policy another reminder that below the surface of the BT lagoon there still remains a lot of the old nationalised industry mindset?
Standard User jabuzzard
(experienced) Tue 16-Mar-21 23:15:05
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: GonePostal] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by GonePostal:
In reply to a post by jabuzzard:
In reply to a post by John_Gray:
Those who wouldn't or couldn't, we had to sent out individual newsletters to each person's BT-email-address as the only addressee.


Noting in 2020 if you don't do that then well nice GDPR violation for you.


A lot of postings going out using bcc are in big trouble then.


Nope. A bcc email is a bunch of separate emails under the hood, one per recipient on the bcc: list, plus one more if there is a to: or cc: recipient.

A large number of people sending out newsletters have a tendency to put everyone on the to: or cc: which is a GDPR violation. Well unless you have their explicit permission for that which is highly unlikely.
Standard User GonePostal
(committed) Wed 17-Mar-21 14:31:35
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: jabuzzard] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jabuzzard:
A large number of people sending out newsletters have a tendency to put everyone on the to: or cc: which is a GDPR violation. Well unless you have their explicit permission for that which is highly unlikely.


Not wishing to undermine the importance of the point, but any violation depends on the scope (i.e. is the newsletter a personal update or an update from a formal or informal organisation). For example, quoting from an internet report copyright University of Gottingen, " . . . the GDPR does not regulate the processing of personal data that natural persons carry out as part of purely personal or household activities, for example, correspondence and social networking." It is not necessarily a GDPR violation (although not necessarily best practice) to use to: or cc: rather than bcc:

In the case of the blocked e-mails that started this thread, I use bcc: as a matter of best practice but I would assume that an update about an informal competition among a group of social acquaintances would fall outside the GDPR regulations.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 17-Mar-21 18:32:32
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Re: Getting round BT's e-mail blocking


[re: GonePostal] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by GonePostal:
In the case of the blocked e-mails that started this thread, I use bcc: as a matter of best practice but I would assume that an update about an informal competition among a group of social acquaintances would fall outside the GDPR regulations.
I believe you are correct as I understand GDPR (aka, UK Data Protection Act 2018)

21 years of broadband connectivity since 1999 trial - Live BQM
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