Comcast and email woes in general

Email.  Its the lifeblood of much of what we do on the web. Its natural for us to get upset when it resists our will. When you take something as personal as email and outisde powers start messing with it, people start feeling powerless.

That leads to fear and anger. "Who’s responsible for this outrage?!"

Comcast. Okay, its not Comcast’s fault. I guess it spammers, or more simply, people.

People use email all the time. They use it for business, happy birthday messages to family members, pictures to Grandma of the kids, even for  discount Viagra.

The abuse of email has forced defensive measures to be taken against the abuse. The abusers rise to the challenge and evolve the abuse to overcome the defense. The defense retaliates. And so on and so on.

Meanwhile innocent people are caught in the middle of this great battle of good and evil. Comcast raises the bar on their spam filter and millions of emails bounce over the weekend. Good and evil emails. Emails from my clients to valued friends and potential customers. These aren’t evil people. They’re real legitimate people and I find that I’m rather fond of them.

Comcast disagrees. Earthlink disagrees. Insert another pain in the ass ISP here.

Me? I’m a custom website developer. I’m no email security specialist or lobbyist working within the walls of Comcast making sure "my guys" don’t get blocked. I don’t have special connections. Most decent ISP don’t have these things either.

The two major ISPs I work with, Dreamhost and 3Essentials are good hosts. Excellent in fact. I place 95% of the websites I make on their servers.

Apparently, Comcast doesn’t feel the same way and is creating a large number of hoops to jump through if you want to send to their addresses.

As I investigate the situation, I discover that you can send an email to this happy email address and you’ll get a report in return displaying the results of your email test.

Here’s a bit of what you get back:

SPF check:          permerror

DomainKeys check:   neutral

DKIM check:         neutral

Sender-ID check:    permerror

SpamAssassin check: ham

Wow! I have some issues to fix! At least this gives me a place to start to make all my domains as conformant as possible to the tests of the Comcast spam filter.

I wrote an SPF record, obviously incorrectly. I’m not sure what the DomainKeys check is, not sure about the DKIM check, I have a problem with my Sender-ID check, and I have to find out why SpamAssasin is calling me "ham"...

Some more information:

About Joseph R. B. Taylor

Joseph R. B. Taylor is a humble designer/developer who makes stuff for screens of all shapes and sizes. He is currently the lead UI/UX Architect at MScience, LLC, where he works to create simple experiences on top of large rich datasets for their customers and clients.