Best software to check Spamassassin score before mailing?

Discussion in 'Email Newsletters' started by PunkAss, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. PunkAss

    PunkAss New Email

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    Hey, our newsletter delivery rates are best described as tepid. I noticed when I checked our Spamassassin score, it was not as low as we could desire. Are there any recommendations for a software that could One; check the spamassassin score prior to mailing, and Two; let us know the reasons that the score is higher than we like?
     


  2. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    Can you setup an instance of SpamAssassin on a Linux server that can receive and score a test newsletter before you send out to the real list? The test SpamAssassin can easily be configured to include the scoring reasons in the message or within the headers for you to review. It would be best if your test SpamAssassin was on a server using a different ISP than the mail server(s) used to send your newsletters.

    I'm confused about how you are able to get SpamAssassin scores after the real newsletter is sent but not before from a test newsletter run. Do you have a test email account with an email provider that uses SpamAssassin for their content filtering? Keep in mind each install is a little different due to the mail admin's preferences, custom rules, and which addon rule sets they choose to include within their install of SpamAssassin.

    Also, here are some general tips that can help improve your inbox delivery rates - http://www.emailquestions.com/email-articles/2437-top-10-email-marketing-tips.html. There are many factors that can affect your inbox delivery rates besides the scoring provided by a content filter such as SpamAssassin.

    :welcome: to Email Questions!
     

  3. PunkAss

    PunkAss New Email

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    Thanks, Popowich! The reason I can see a score, but not the reasons, is that we have a test email account that can be mailed prior to sending the newsletter. This email account gives a Spamassassin score, but not the reasons for the score. Unfortunately, I am not a techie, and I wouldn't be able at this point to set up software on a Linux server, but is there any software that could be downloaded to a PC that can give the score and the reasoning behind it? Or, if not a software, some other strategy to get the score and the reasoning during testing?
    Thanks.
     
  4. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    I think this is a decent free way to do what you would like to accomplish:

    • Send a test email to a Gmail account
    • Use Gmail Backup to download the email to your computer
    • Locate the .eml file in the Gmail backups on your computer
    • Use Mailing Check to run a local SpamAssassin scan of that .eml file
    I scanned mailing check with avast, spybot, and malwarebytes and they did not detect any issues with the download before or after the install.

    You can substitute any program on your computer that can generate a .eml file from an email in that program for the send to Gmail and use Gmail backup to download the email in .eml format steps.

    Did this solution work for you?

    If you need more specific directions or screen shot help please let us know!
     
  5. PunkAss

    PunkAss New Email

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    Thanks, again, for your help with that last issue. The SpamAssassin score and reasons have been helpful to increase delivery of our newsletter. However, our Soft Bounces and Blocked are still astronomical. I checked the server settings, and I have a few questions for you. It appears this server is set to be speedy, rather than set to deliver (or so I suspect.) Please pardon my ignorance of server settings, and their positive/negative impact successful mail delivery.

    1. Maximum SMTP connections are set at 20. Is this a reasonably low number? How does this affect mailing delivery?

    2. Bounce after 1 Hour is the setting for bouncing. Is this a reasonably high number? How does this affect mailing delivery?

    3. Retry after 10 Minutes is the setting for Retrys. Is this high/low? How does this affect delivery?

    4. Maximum messages per minute has no limits at all. Should there be some limits? How does this affect delivery?

    5. Maximum messages per connection has no limits either. Should there be limits? How does this affect delivery?

    6. Maximum recipients per connection has no limits. Should there be a maximum? How does this affect delivery?

    7. Slow down if negative response detected? This is set at NO. Should it be set at YES? How does this affect delivery?

    8. End slow down after ___ Hours. This is blank. If we do set the above to YES, what is the appropriate amount of time for a slowdown, and what signicance does it have on delivery?

    9. Maximum messages during slow down ___ a Minute. This also is blank. What do you think is an appropriate volume limit?

    10. Retry after/during slow down ___ Minutes/Hours. This also is blank. What are your thoughts?

    My apologies for so many questions in one swoop, but I'm woefully ignorant when it comes to mailings/delivery/servers.

    Thank you in advance for your email wisdom.
     
  6. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    What is your IP address?

    Is it a dedicated or shared IP address?

    How long has the IP address been sending email from you?

    Do you immediately remove addresses from your list that bounce?

    Are you only sending email to people that want the email?

    Do you segment your lists so that the topic of the newsletters matches what the people are interested in?

    Do you know what your open rates are?

    It seems that how often your subscribers open the emails and click the links is starting to matter more and more.

    To answer your questions above (What software do you use for sending the mailings?) :

    1) Unless you are sending content that is time critical such as a coupon that expires in 24hrs to large amounts of addresses I'd think having 10 concurrent outbound connections is fine. Watch how long it takes to send and figure out if that's an acceptable amount of time.

    2+3) I'm a qmail guy that sends with this qmail retry schedule. Since you are still having problems how about no retries for now? If an email fails with a non 5xx smtp code keep them on the list but don't try to send to that address again until the next newsletter. When you have the lists and sending cleaned up then you can try adjusting to 1 retry and see what happens.

    4) This is covered by 2+3 above

    5) A value of 5 should be fine. Some mails servers open a connection per email. You're being nicer than that with a setting of 5.

    6) I think 5 should be fine here too. You might be able to adjust answers 5 and 6 higher but if you are running in future runs I wouldn't make addition changes until there is an actual problem that you are trying to solve.

    7-10) Leave them unchanged. If you continue to have problems over the next few weeks you can start to figure out which ISP's and why and try to solve specific problems. "What do the logs say?" to fix those errors.
     

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