Title: ATTENTION ALL AOL USERS! Please take a moment to read this warning
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THE CUTTING EDGE
The Cutting Edge Webmaster noticed yesterday (8/19/03) as he studied our Internet logs that AOL was bouncing back emails we were sending to AOL customers. It did not matter whether Customer Service was responding to a query, or whether we were notifying an AOL customer that we were shipping their product, or whether we were sending out our Electronic Newsletter. All emails sent from Cutting Edge to AOL customers were being blocked and sent back.
After trying to contact AOL using their labyrinthine Customer Service system, we were told that AOL spam blocking software was blocking servers other than just Cutting Edge. Other AOL users have reporting missing emails from many other sources other than Cutting Edge.
UPDATE 8-21-03 12 PM - After Speaking with yet another AOL technician we resolved the problem of getting regular mail out to AOL customers however the problem of spam filtering remains for the newsletter due to word scanning spam filters as you will read below. Our new way of sending it should solve that as well.
However, this problem with spam filtering software blocking legitimate email is not limited to the particular type of spam blocker AOL is using. Listen:
NEWS BRIEF: "Study: ISPs block some legitimate e-mails", Triangle Business Journal, August 12, 2003.
"A new study by Return Path Inc. reveals Internet service providers inadvertently are blocking or filtering legitimate e-mail in their attempts to protect their subscribers from spam. The assurance services division of the Colorado company tracked the delivery, blocking and filtering rates of 9,956 e-mail marketing campaigns sent by clients during the first and second quarters of 2003, using its Mailbox Monitor delivery monitoring service.
"The findings revealed 17 percent of permission-based e-mail messages incorrectly were blocked or filtered by the top 12 ISPs. Of that 17 percent that was blocked, the highest 'false positive' spam identifications were traced to Mail.com and NetZero, at 38 percent and 34 percent, respectively. CompuServe followed at 31 percent and AOL at 25 percent.
"At 4 percent, Yahoo had the lowest incidence of blocking and filtering.
"As ISPs and system administrators aggressively -- and appropriately -- try to protect their users from spam, a lot of opt-in e-mail is victimized," says Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path. "It's like throwing the baby out with the bath water..."
This is the crux of the problem. Note that the spam filtering system of AOL is blocking a solid 25% of legitimate emails. In the past, we have urged all our customers and subscribers to think twice before buying a spam filtering system or getting on a list of Internet websites that are blocked for 'offensive' material. The problem is that the people who create the software do not necessarily share your Christian values and may actually be hostile to them; therefore, they are likely to block web sites or emails containing words that are not offensive to Christians but are offensive to unsaved people. And, this list grows all the time, it seems.
AOL hopes it will have this problem resolved within days; however, we are not encouraged to believe this problem will not recur again and again and again, for that has been the problem in the past. The issue is that the software blocking program is inherently defective and will continue to cause disruptions. In 2001 "Spam-filtering software from America Online Inc. may have overstepped its bounds and blocked e-mail from customers of Internet service provider EarthLink Inc. for more than a week, resulting in potentially more than 1 million messages that were undelivered and lost for good." Computerworld 3/20/01 Jennifer DiSabatino, Computerworld
We at Cutting Edge ministries are opposed to spam and we support the efforts of Internet service providers like AOL to stop it. However, some providers have become so aggressive in this effort that it is forcing us to change the way we send our newsletter. Currently hundreds of newsletters are being returned by spam filters for various reasons and AOL is returning 100% of all email from Cutting Edge Ministries.
Most spam filters determine if a piece of mail is spam based on many parameters but the one that is causing us the biggest problem is the word scoring. What this means is that certain words carry a value and when added up, if the value exceeds the threshold, the email to you is deleted. Words such as mortgage, Viagra, loan, free, offer, homosexual and unsubscribe are just a few examples of words that can get an email trashed as spam. Links in an email, pictures and removal links all count against an email in a spam filter. Our newsletters are fairly long in order to be thorough and because of this the chances of being banned as spam increase weekly.
How do I know if my ISP is filtering my Cutting Edge newsletter?
If you have not gotten your newsletter recently, it has probably been filtered.
What do I do if I am subscribed and am not getting the newsletter?
Notify your service provider that they are filtering some of your mail that you must get. Tell them that you want to receive mail from the domain cuttingedge.org Your service provider should be willing to whitelist Cutting Edge for you so that you can get the email. If you are using spam filtering software, be sure that cuttingedge.org is whitelisted.
What if my ISP will not comply with my request?
Your only option at this point is to change service providers to somebody who will not censor your email for you based on the words it contains or at least will give you control over it. Most email content now is scanned by spam filtering software and the likelihood is that you are not getting all your mail because someone else is deciding what you should get. The goals to block spam are honorable ones but the potential for abuse by anyone who controls this technology to scan your mail and ban it based on word content in the future are HUGE.
Changing Method of Newsletters
Therefore, Cutting Edge is changing the way in which we send out our weekly Electronic Newsletters. We are attempting to hold to a Sunday evening schedule for posting the newsletter. However, instead of sending the newsletter in its entirety to your mail box, we shall just send you a simple email notification that the new newsletter has been posted, giving you the address which you can simply click on to open up. Then, you can read it just as you do any article now.
We shall also post links to both the Current Newsletter and Archived Newsletters at the top left of the Home Page (www.cuttingedge.org) and in the top box above the Daily News Updates.
The Current Newsletter can be found at: http://www.cuttingedge.org/newsletters/index.html
All Archived Newsletters will be at: http://www.cuttingedge.org/newsletters/archive-index.html
We shall also begin notifying you of new important Headline News articles as they are posted using this same simple email form. For a long time, we had a service that did this for us, and many subscribers took advantage of it to be alerted that a new article was posted.
Thank you for your great support, your daily prayers, and your encouragement.
May Jesus Richly Bless You,
David Bay, Director
Cutting Edge Ministries
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually.
If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order -- Kingdom of Antichrist -- in their daily news.
Finally, we would love to hear from you.
You can contact us by mail or email.
God bless you.