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I should have received an important email from XYZ Company—where is it?

The most common reason for missing email is a bad address: someone isn’t typing your address correctly. Another common reason is that the email is in fact being received, but it is going into your local spam or trash folder. 

But what if these two reasons aren’t the cause?

BELD receives millions of spam emails daily for our 2,000+ Internet subscribers. We use spam scanning methods to weed some of that out, otherwise your email would become  inundated with spam. Any automated method we use will sometimes error, so we try to eliminate as much spam as possible while allowing through the true email.

We subscribe to a so-called “blackhole” list of IP addresses that have sent spam. If someone sending you email is on one of these lists, we won’t be able to receive their email until they have been removed. It’s very common for someone’s computer to be hijacked to send spam without their knowledge—the process just runs in the background. If someone has been blocked from sending you email because they are on a blackhole list, they will get a bounce notice from us explaining which list they are on, and how to contact the list to be removed. They should update any virus scanning software, etc., before doing so.

Another thing we do is “greylisting”: we deny the first attempt to deliver email, and require the sender to try again. Usually this introduces only a one minute delay and isn’t noticed. But mail from some companies can be delayed for as long as 12 hours as a result of the programmed retry interval of the server sending you email. 

We also impose inbound sending limits of 200 emails for any 60-minute period. This is measured by total number of addressees, so four emails to 51 people, one email to 201 people, or 201 emails to 201 unique individuals would all exceed this quota. If this threshold is exceeded, we refuse to receive further email from that source for an hour.

Additionally, any emails with a blank subject, using an unusual character set, or deviating from Internet standards isn’t accepted. In those cases we message the sender so  the problem can be resolved.

Finally, we run Spam Assassin software to examine email, and assigns it a score based on font size, graphics, links and so forth. If the score is high enough, the software decides that it is likely to be spam, labels it as such and sends it to your inbox. Many customers set up an automatic filter that sends such mail to a folder or their trash bin. If you aren’t getting an email and you’ve set up such a rule, check those locations.