For users get their password via email when they register. Occasionally someone will have a spam blocking service that requires people who send email to verify themselves by going to a site and passing a Captcha.

I just got one of those requests from Earthlink, and the damn thing won’t accept my input. I know I put in the right text for the Captcha, “THPN2” doesn’t have any homoglyphs like “1” and “l”. So now some guy isn’t getting his registration because of Earthlink’s broken spam blocker. I’d email him to let him know, but, well, you know…

On the plus side, I added a message to the registration page saying “If you use a spam blocking service that requires people to verify themselves before sending you mail, please add george (at) hotelling (dot) net to your whitelist to make sure you get your account details.” Hopefully this will mean fewer links I have to click.

Can anyone who uses one of these services tell me how much email they miss out on? I got an email a little while ago from Amazon telling me that USPS couldn’t deliver a package because the recipient had moved, and it came from an email address I had never gotten email from. How do people using these services get stuff like that?

[Update: I talked to Earthlink support.

‘Steven T.’ says: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?
me: I’m trying to send email to a user who has spam blocking turned on. I fill out the form and it says that the form failed and the email won’t send
me: is the link I’m going to.
Steven T.: Please note that it depends upon the user accepting your request.
Steven T.: Please try to send it again and again.
me: The error message I get is “Challenge Failed. Please try your submission again.”
Steven T.: Okay, try to send it in off peak hours.
me: When are those?
Steven T.: I mean early in the morning or late night.
me: OK, I will try to schedule my email around your spam blocker.

Apparently Earthlink customers can only receive pre-approved email during the day. I’m glad I don’t rely on them for my email.]


One response to “Portrait of a broken spam blocker”

  1. Block Sheep says:

    I recommend the $30/yr. (not .com)
    email account if you don’t like spam.
    It let’s you ‘POP’ MSN/Hotmail, Yahoo, etc, and you
    can forward from any domain to it. It has
    spam-assassin built in, and if you take the time to
    do it you can report spam to the ISPs who
    are allowing it to happen.
    I have been using it for years and even have my
    family using it. There’s even a slick https
    webmail access (and encrypted POP and IMAP).
    It’s not entirely simple to set up,
    but it is super-powerful!
    (I am in no way related to,
    I’m just a happy customer)

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