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Spam Management for e-Marketers

This article was first posted on DataScienceCentral, by Vincent Granville.

Some important or useful messages might be sleeping in your spam box, especially if you use a Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook or a corporate email account from companies such as Intel, Wells Fargo, Cisco, Walmart, Cigna, Intuit, Cap Gemini, etc. Some universities, alumni and government agencies also have a high rate of false positives, when it comes to filtering spam. The cause: these organizations rely on faulty (usually third party) email filtering systems designed by sloppy data scientists, or the filtering parameters are not properly tuned. This type of issue frequently happens when people use a black box designed by data scientists, don't understand the parameters, or the user interface is poorly designed or misleading, with confusing terminology.

To find out if you miss important messages, check your spam box. On Gmail, you need to scroll down your list of mail boxes, on the top left corner, to find the spam box, then remove spam flags. Or you can proceed as follows:

  1. Log on to your Gmail account 
  2. Click here to access your spam box
  3. To remove a spam flag: click on a message, then cross the spam box next to the subject line.

Check for messages from Data Science Central. Google tends to erroneously (and randomly) flag useful messages from various sources, so it's a good idea to check your spam box from time to time. You can fix the issue by moving messages that you like from your Spam box to your Inbox folder, following our procedure. This also works with most ISP's and several corporate email systems. 

Also, unsubscribe rather than marking our message as spam, if you no longer want to receive our messages. You can unsubscribe using the "unsubscribe" button found at the bottom of all our messages.

Gmail is currently filtering out a lot of messages and has a high rate of false positives, when dealing with spam, partly because of its reliance on crowd-sourcing for spam filtering. And maybe they think that false negatives are worst than false positives. Any good system should allow the user to set the spam threshold and parameters herself, rather than having Google do it for you. And separate mail into 3 categories: spam, dangerous and good. Google bundles spam and dangerous into one single category, which might explain why they are worried by false negatives more than by false positives. It should be the other way around for email filtering - although today, false negatives from the "dangerous" category can spread viruses throughout the Internet.

You might consider switching to a different provider (Yahoo mail, etc.) if this is causing problems.

Google "where is my spam box" to find your spam box and fix the issue on Hotmail, Yahoo mail and with other ISP's.

Below is an example (screenshot) of our messages. In this case, it appeared in our Gmail Inbox, as indicated by the grey box next to the subject line.

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