Lee Gomes writes today about the serious problem of false positives when you install a spam filter. It’s a problem I feel particularly acutely: my email address has been floating around the internet for so long that sometimes I feel I’m on the list of every spammer in the world. I actually have two spam filters; the first is weak, lets through a lot of spam (but still catches about 500 messages a day), and has very few false positives. The second is stronger, marks a lot of real email as spam, and is therefore not particularly useful.
More worryingly, my email address is sometimes used as a reply-to address by spammers, which means that a lot of spam filters think that emails from my domain are spam. It’s reached the point that when I email someone I’ve never emailed before, I almost expect them never to receive my message.
What I’d love is some mechanism whereby I could pay "postage" of a few cents, maybe to charity, on selected emails I send. That would be a very strong indication my message was not spam, and should be let through. But I fear coming up with a universal standard for such a mechanism is practically impossible.