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emails containing hypertext links to or from me rejected as spam

dinsdale

Member
Over the last week or so I've been helping a friend with webpage design suggestions.

Any email I send is rejected by relay.plus.net as spam or containing a virus. Plain text emails work normally, as before. A temporary solution was to resend these messages with links via gmail which always works fine but it's a nuisance. I prefer not to contact Plusnet's tech support with non-urgent problems as in the past I'm usually told that I'm the only one with the issue; such problems have an apparent self-healing property.

I waited a week this time and was given the advice that I should stop trying to send emails with hypertext links for a few days to improve my 'reputation' :confused: . I'm sending maybe 4 or 5 of these at most on any one day and all to one recipient so hardly a typical spammer.

For several days my own spam catcher program Mailwasher Pro was frequently unable to check for new mail on Plusnet's POP server and I now find that incoming emails with hypertext links are being rejected too. A partial refund for the unacceptably poor email service (not to mention the appalling tech support response) is not possible because it's free.
 

DTMark

ULTIMATE Member
One of the most common reasons for email being rejected by the destination server is that the IP address of the sender is blacklisted, either temporarily or longer-term and may feature on a public database that is cross-referenced.

And the most common reason that I see for that happening is where the sender is using a hosted email service that shares an IP address with others, and one of the others is responsible for that block being there, or, where enough spam has been sent from "nearby" IP that the whole subnet ends up blocked.

Try checking your email address and sending IP on public blacklists like spamhaus and see if it's on any of those.

Some ISPs provide a control panel where you (here I mean the recipient) can adjust the level of filtering on incoming emails that takes place.

Another common reason can be particular words in the email especially if repeated, which makes it look like spam to a less sophisticated algorithm - words like "sale", "buy" are often culprits.
 

drsox

ULTIMATE Member
I've had this problem within the last month or so. Even more annoying when its affecting a entire office. In the end I had to smarthost their exchange server via my own server instead of the plusnet relay :(

Tom - www.mouselike.org
 

dinsdale

Member
My Plusnet IP address is dynamic and changes frequently when I exit from VPN. I usually have a Plusnet IP address when I send emails but have done this from within VPN before with no issues. It wasn't a problem until about a week ago and I just now forwarded to myself an email previously sent on 13th Oct without issue. This time it was rejected by relay.plus.net as spam or virus. I can't see any contentious words in it and nothing has changed at my end. The other issue of access failing on checking for new emails has resolved itself, again with no changes made here.

I checked my current Plusnet-assigned IP address at http://whatismyipaddress.com/blacklist-check and out of 74 test servers it was blacklisted by four, two associated with Spamhaus and two with Sorbs. I'll test again with another Plusnet IP address but if this is the cause of the problem it suggests that Plusnet isn't checking the provenance of its issued addresses. I'll also test further with a VPN server assigned IP.


New Plusnet IP address blocked forwarding of same email from 13th Oct by 1 Spamhaus server and 2 Sorbs, rejected as spam/virus again. I couldn't send the email from a London node of my VPN service but it was allowed from a Southampton node although once again rejected as spam/virus. That IP is blacklisted by 2 Spamhaus servers and cbl.abuseat.org . So Spamhaus is a recurring theme here. If I can persuade Plusnet techies to check further with Spamhaus it should help but I'm inclined to stop using their mailserver as it also rejects incoming messages without notification to me as I discovered when I emailed a message to myself from gmail. On that occasion I received a notification of failure from gmail but if a third party sends me something only they, of course, will know if the transmission failed.
 
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Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
Plusnet seem to be heavily filtering emails, my mother has started getting "blank" attachments, where every other member of the golf club gets an Office file attaches. I have also has them bounce emails I have sent her, claiming I am on a blacklist, but when I have checked the blacklist they mention, my IP is not there.
 

bpullen

ISP Rep
The IP we assign to your broadband connection is irrelevant, our relay servers will accept connections from all of our IP ranges. If the outbound server is rejecting messages then it should return a 552 response alongside a fingerprint string. The reason for outbound rejection is almost certainly due to the the recipient or content of the message containing a domain or hyperlink that our spam filters consider to have a poor reputation.

This can be resolved, by contacting support. In doing so, it would help to include a copy of the rejection error, the recipient address you're trying to send to, and the full body of one of the emails that are being rejected.

An alternative solution (although not guaranteed to always work) is to use our Webmail platform to try sending the message. This should fail with the same server rejection and the email saved in your drafts folder. Move this email from the Drafts folder to the Junk folder, highlight it and then click the 'Not spam' button in the tool bar. Do this a few times, wait a short while and try sending your message again.

If email sent to your Plusnet address is getting rejected, then the process for dealing with this is slightly different. In instances like this, it could be the sending mail server that has a bad reputation as well as the message content or sender address.

With the former the rejection URL should contain pointers on how to get the sending IP de-listed. With the latter, it helps if you're able to provide us a copy of the received email including headers after it's been sent to a non-Plusnet email address. Alternative is to disable spam filtering, but there are obvious downsides to that.

FWIW, all of our customer-assigned IPs will be on Spamhaus' PBL lists. This is intentional.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
With the former the rejection URL should contain pointers on how to get the sending IP de-listed. With the latter, it helps if you're able to provide us a copy of the received email including headers after it's been sent to a non-Plusnet email address. Alternative is to disable spam filtering, but there are obvious downsides to that.
Great, if you are actually ON the blacklist, I wasnt; however I did resolve my issue by changing my outgoing mail server, even though the one I was using wasnt on the blacklist.

At least you are using a stupid "Keyword" list like some ISPs I know; an Indian friend couldnt figure out why emails she sent to me arrived, but the CC's to her sister in India failed. I changed the titles from "Please help" and similar pleas, to something neutral, and they went through BTs mail server without a hitch. Only ever affected mail going overseas, everyone she sent one to in the UK got them OK.
 

bpullen

ISP Rep
Great, if you are actually ON the blacklist, I wasnt; however I did resolve my issue by changing my outgoing mail server, even though the one I was using wasnt on the blacklist.
I'd be interested to see a copy of the rejection message you received after trying to email your mother? You may be misinterpreting the rejection message, or we may have not worded it particularly well. As an aside, I'd be very surprised if the attachment issue has anything to do with our mail filtering.

FWIW, aside from the popular RBL's like Spamhaus, the main IP check that's we carry out on inbound mail uses Cloudmark's Sender Intelligence reputation engine.

At least you are using a stupid "Keyword" list like some ISPs I know...
We're not using a stupid keyword list at all. Our content filtering uses real-time threat reporting as explained here. From experience, it's typically domain names or specific URL's that trigger the content filters, and where this happens there's a good reason for it.

No spam filter is 100% accurate, and where false positives are identified we're happy to work with the customer to resolve the issue.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
Sorry, I didnt keep the rejection message, but I dont think I misunderstood it either; I HAVE had my email blocked genuinely once - about 7-8 years ago, after malware infected my machine, so I know the procedure to get my name removed from the list after the infection is cleared.
 

dinsdale

Member
This is the rejection message I got a few minutes ago when once again trying to forward to myself an email which was previously sent successfully on 13th Oct:

"the SMTP server (relay.plus.net) said: 552 YoTY1r0024S9n3901oTZRb message rejected due to spam or virus. If you believe this is in error please login to your portal or contact your ISP support team"

The advice from my ISP's support team was to not send this type of email again through Plusnet for a few days to improve my reputation. The need to do so has passed for the time being anyway. I suppose I could send any such future messages as encrypted attachments but I'm still concerned about incoming messages being deleted in the same apparently arbitrary manner as friends often send messages with links to news items or Youtube videos.
 

bpullen

ISP Rep
That rejection is almost certainly being triggered by the from address or an email address/URL in the body of the email. This is fairly trivial to fix, but you'd need to message me the sender address and a copy of one of the offending messages.

@Captain_Cretin, if this is similar to the rejection message you saw then it has nothing to do with DNS blacklists.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
No, the one I got named several spam lists I was supposed to be listed on.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
If it happens again, I will post it for you to look at.
 
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