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Act-On Software

Checking Email Spam Scores

AUDIENCE: Administrators, Marketing Users

  • Identify reasons that could cause an email message to be marked as spam
  • Learn how spam is scored
  • Learn how to check an email message's spam score while reviewing the message
The Act-On message builder includes a spam scoring feature that checks your message for characteristics that make it more likely to be perceived as spam.

 Act-On uses an online database containing thousands of characteristics, including:

  • All uppercase characters in the subject line
  • Too many consecutive exclamation marks or dollar signs
  • 'ASCII art' (decorations made with letters, numbers, and punctuation marks)
  • Obfuscated text, like 'p0rn' and 'V i a g r a'
  • Words like 'pharmaceutical' and 'meds'
  • Links with HREFs that don't match the URLs in the visible ('clickable') text

The spam scoring engine checks your message for common characteristics of spam and assigns a score between 0 and 15 – the higher the spam score, the more likely it is that your message will be blocked by receiving mail servers, ignored by your recipients, or flagged and reported as spam. A score as low as 5 represents characteristics that will cause some mail servers to store an incoming message in a 'junk' box, and the intended recipient may never see it. As you compose your message, use the Spam Score function to help identify things in your message that raise the spam score, and try to eliminate them.

To access the Spam Score feature in the Review step:

  • From the Review tab, click Check Spam Score > Check Score Now.

The spam check shows scores, pass/fail information and specific rules that have been triggered for the following filters: MessageLabs, Barracuda, Outlook, and SpamAssassin.

  • MessageLabs - MessageLabs is another server-side spam filter, owned by Symantec.
  • Barracuda - Barracuda Spam Firewall is an expensive hardware spam filter that is installed by large organizations within their own data center.
  • SpamAssassin - A very popular open source spam filter. Here we are testing against version 3.3, using its default settings.
  • Outlook - The built-in junk e-mail filter for Outlook, which ships as part of Microsoft Office. This has various sensitivity settings, here we have set it to 'High'.

Additionally, a history of results for messages has been added in order to see if changes made during testing have helped lower your score from previous tests:

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