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Microsoft SmartScreen Filtering: False Positives

I have recently run across two scenarios where Microsoft's SmartScreen service for Outlook mail has flagged single-opt-in subscription content as spam. It's annoying because one of those subscriptions is from Microsoft's Virtual Academy; which also has a glaring email autoresponder issue that I'll address in another post.

Imagine if you could: a giant inbox funnel with a mesh strainer on top of it called SmartScreen. The difference is that with Outlook.com (formerly live.com, hotmail.com, etc), it captures 110% of all incoming mail. Even the legit emails get caught in this spam trap.

What is SmartScreen? It's an Internet Explorer safety feature, really intended to be a phishing filter security feature. This is weird because I'm experiencing its affects using Chrome so I suppose Microsoft has separated its function from IE and made it app-centric instead.

What's the cure for businesses with legit email?

One possibility is to report the false positive to Symantec through this link. Another, is to contact Microsoft, but that like asking Google customer service to reset your free Gmail account password (which, if you signed up with verification service before you had mobile phone service, it just might be a problem for users trying to reset their password through automation tools. Just how many people have tied a landline w/o caller ID to Google's text verification password reset?).

Basically, you're nearly stuck.

But, what you should have been doing all along..

  • Have an unsubscribe or preferences link
  • Have your company name and postal address listed in the email's footer
  • Double opt-in for promotional content, if your ESP has that capability
  • Have legit unique content that's relevant to the receiver; even when they sign up for your services. Receipt nor open of an auto-generated welcome email does not constitute an acceptance of newsletter subscription; especially not in Canada


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