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Spam reputation hinders Yahoo mail delivery

Monday, November 14, 2011
Sean O'Malley  

Some yahoo.com e-mail users don't have much to shout "Yahoo!" about these days. 

According to Don Hone, an e-mail administrator for OIT, Yahoo's spam reputation has fallen to the point where messages are being consistently rejected by other providers, including Ohio University.  Attempts to contact administrators at Yahoo have so far been unsuccessful.

"At this point," Hone says, "Yahoo users who need to send e-mail to OHIO students or employees may want to consider moving to a different e-mail provider." 

Like many institutions across the country, Ohio University uses reputation-based filtering as part of its defense against spam.  In the automated spam filtering world, "bad reputation" has a very specific meaning.  When a company, Internet provider, or institution sends too much spam from a particular server, that server gets points taken away from its reputation.  If a server's reputation drops too low, that server gets blacklisted. According to Hone, approximately half of Yahoo's e-mail servers currently are experiencing some sort of spam-related restriction.

Students and employees who are forwarding their accounts to Yahoo may wish to consider disabling that forwarding and using their university account instead.  Although messages forwarded from OHIO to Yahoo will get through, replies from Yahoo to OHIO may be delayed or blocked.

Symptoms and cures for Yahoo users
 

The most common symptom of spam trouble for a Yahoo user trying to reach an OHIO address is a rejection message.  For e-mails sent from Yahoo to OHIO, the rejection notice will have the following characteristics:

  • From: MAILER-DAEMON@yahoo.com
  • Subject: Failure Notice
  • Reason: "Too many recipients received this hour"

OIT has communicated directly about this issue with students and employees who are forwarding their mail to Yahoo.  Options outlined in that message include:

  • disabling forwarding and using Catmail or Exchange
  • opening a new account with a different e-mail provider and updating OHIO forwarding to point to that new account
  • continuing to read mail on Yahoo, but using Catmail or Exchange when sending to OHIO users

Individuals with questions are encouraged to contact the OIT Service Desk at 740-593-1222.


Related Links

Reputation-based filtering (Cisco corporate site) 
Exchange and Catmail forwarding