Hospital radio station struggles with Yahoo! email 'blockade'
Cap don't fit
A small UK-based hospital radio station has fallen foul of the overzealous spam-blocking policies of internet giant Yahoo!.
Reg reader Brian Purvis looks after the IT needs of Radio Haslar, a hospital radio station that (as so many in the UK) operates as a charity. Over the last few weeks email messages sent to either btinternet.com, yahoo.co.uk or yahoo.com addresses have been delivered up to 24 hours late or, in most cases, not at all.
Error messages typically come in the format (below):
<<< 421 Message from (78.32.***.***) temporarily deferred - 4.16.50. Please refer to http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/mail/defer/defer-06.html
The URL included in the messages suggests that a domain is being blocked on suspicion of sending out spam to Yahoo! addresses or as a result of complaints, an inference Purvis resents.
"The mail server for radiohaslar.co.uk is a private, closed relay and very heavily locked down to prevent unauthorised access by spammers, so I know that our servers are not being abused," Purvis told us. "In addition to this we operate a zero tolerance to spam both incoming and outgoing, so what Yahoo are saying is simply not true. The only email we send to these address are to those who are members of our station."
Others have reported similar problems getting legitimate emails across to Yahoo! since October last year. Purvis said Radio Haslar's problems only kicked in a month or so ago.
We contacted Yahoo! in the hopes of shedding some light on the matter. It responded with a statement saying its "privacy policies" prevented it from "sharing information about user accounts with third parties", an assertion that would doubtless interest Chinese dissidents sent to jail on evidence supplied to the Chinese authorities by Yahoo!. Yahoo! went on:
Yahoo! Mail treats email delivery as a top priority and it's important to Yahoo! to ensure email users are receiving the messages they want and value. For your reference, Yahoo! Mail provides best practice guidelines for Bulk Mail senders at http://help.yahoo.com/l/uk/yahoo/mail/postmaster/ including a customer care form for those needing additional help with e-mail delivery.
Yahoo! has kept its promise and is in touch with Radio Haslar. Unfortunately, its approach is more than a little bureaucratic. Purvis is being asked to respond to no fewer than 17 points included in a lengthy form.
Meanwhile Radio Haslar is still having trouble getting email through to its members. "Yahoo say that a resend should let them through, but in reality it is taking resends up to 24 hours," Purvis told El Reg. He added that the email response he received from Yahoo!, sent only after El Reg took an interest in the story, is "very long-winded and I feel too complicated for a small voluntary organisation like ours". ®
Let us know how you get on.
anyone else having a problem post it here any maybe we can take a look and throw ina few pointers?
Good luck to them...
I have been speaking to yahoo for the last 3 months to get this resolved, Im not sending bulk mail, maybe 20 messages a day to one yahoo user...
So far I have had to explain no less than 3 times that I am not sending bulk email to their network.
As for their spam policy the "Challange" Rule is Ok in theory... Basically if its spam and it bounces the sending server wont try to send it again, a legit sendinmg server will que it and re send... the second mail should get through...
In Theory this is fine... In practice the yahoo mail server forgets that the first mail was deffered after about 5 mins so the sending server needs to retry the delivery almost immediatly after the first bounce...
Of course this still doesnt fix it - but it does increase the chaces of your mail making it from 1 in 10 to 2 in 10!!!
Its a farce.. If I didnt have clients on yahoo I would have nothing to do with them.
I have taken the comments listed here on board and have already taken action to implement the following.
1/ Amended SPF record so that only the primary mail server is authorised to send mail.
2/ Amended the reverse DNS infomation for mail server IP address to a non adsl one.
3/ Amended hostname of mail server so that it does not display adsl
4/ Made sure that that the A Name MX record, SMTP greeting / hostname and reverse DNS for IP all match.
Although the main website is hosted with hostgator.com they do not host our email, and to be honest their service as a host have been second to none, just a shame that their backbone provider has an allegedly obvious dubious record with regards to spam.
Many thanks for all your help and comments.
Hospital Radio Haslar