Shaw email SPAM filters for addresses are mediocre


Shaw SPAM filter catches a lot of false positives.

Shaw SPAM filter catches a lot of false positives.

I have mentioned my disdain for Shaw’s email at least once on this blog.

Today, I’ll write a bit on Shaw’s mediocre spam filter.

We manage a fully legitimate, opt-in email newsletter for a local retail chain. This client has a large (relative to the business size) email newsletter list.  The vast majority of the email subscribers reside in the trade radiuses of their stores in the GVRD, Kelowna, Victoria, and Calgary.

By a slim margin over, email is the most popular email domain in these areas, at about 25% of email addresses on the list. The list subscribers is heavily female; however, I doubt that this affects the ratio of  email providers by very much.

The point is that for a BC or Alberta merchant, your email newsletter effectiveness is highly dependent on Shaw’s hit and miss SPAM filter.  We have a test email account, and subscribed to dozens of opt-in newsletters.  For months we have built up an archive of all the items flagged as SPAM. And we’ve seen many, many,  false positives.  See the thumbnail at the right.  Everything that I’ve highlighted in yellow is a false positive, in other words, they should not have been flagged as SPAM.

The Bay, Beyond the Rack, Your emails are being flagged very frequently as SPAM at Shaw.  I didn’t count, but well over 50% of your emails are being SPAM binned at Shaw.  Many other firms get caught, though, less frequently.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any real secrets to sell you on consistently getting deliverability into the Shaw Inbox.  We have tried a dozen different changes in how our client’s e-newsletter is delivered to Shaw, and the results have been somewhat positive, but definitely not 100% successful.  Even the much touted Sender Score Certification did not work.

In brief, since this post could go on for pages and pages:

  • Email users – I do not recommend ever using your ISP’s free email accounts.  They really don’t care as much as the firms that specialize in email.  I would not trust that commercial email that I need, such as an invoice or receipt, would get to my inbox.  I strongly recommend any of the big 3 webmail providers instead.
  • Email marketers – if BC and Alberta are important to you, watch your open rates by domain.  You might find that some email hosts do not like you very much.
  • Shaw – if you happen to stumble on this, could you please just outsource the whole email system to someone who cares?  Cut a deal with Google or Hotmail and split the advertising revenues and be done with it.  You know, and I know, that email isn’t a profit centre for you, so it will never be as good as the webmail specialists.

Note: I have written about Shaw here; however, I can tell from the email open rates, that Telus email SPAM filters are also quite finicky; however, I do not have a email address to  use for testing this theory.


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2 Responses to “Shaw email SPAM filters for addresses are mediocre”

  1. Darryl Says:

    Shaw’s spam filters SUCK!!!!!!!!

  2. Doug Says:

    I hear you. A newsletter I send for our store just got flagged as spam – is an opt-in newsletter, using MailChimp as the sender, with the proper unsubscribe links, the recipient’s name in the To field, each email is sent individually, etc. The same email went through fine for Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo.
    Yes, we use the word Free when we or our suppliers have free offers, or win with the contests we run, or sale price, or special, or any other legit use of perfectly-acceptable words in the English language. Yes, there are images, but that’s to be expected in an HTML email. They all have legit alt tags and we keep our sizes down so the text-to-image ratio is good. And yes, we use an exclamation mark (and just one!) when something deserves to be emphasized. OR all-caps, or bold, or italic, or any other legit language technique. (I do avoid underline so that our links still stand out.) So there is no way anyone could reasonably expect to come up with an algorithm that can second-guess the inherit meaning of certain words and derive that someone wouldn’t want to know about specials and free offers, especially when they SIGN-UP to receive them!
    BUT, the worse bit – Shaw insists on having their default filter setting to be “delete immediately”. So most people have no idea that they are missing out on important legit emails, and also have no clue that these filters even exist. We try to educate our customers when they subscribe by showing them how to whitelist our URL, and how to change their filter settings. But let’s face it – most people aren’t going to take the time to set those. Much like Shaw isn’t willing to take the time to improve their filters. So we continue to tip-toe around Shaw’s incompetence and sloth-like attitude towards improvement.
    We do send test emails prior to the full campaign, but it is impossible to know what metrics we crossed when it does get flagged, and can only keep hacking away at the content or trying different Subject lines, in the hope of squeezing under the magic invisible line. Unfortunately, the usual process becomes send it as is and then send a follow-up notice to just our Shaw subscribers, pointing them to the online version of the email and asking them again to whitelist us and to change their Shaw filters.
    So yes, Shaw’s filters suck, Our legit subscriber-based email gets flagged as spam, YET, spam purporting to come from Shaw gets by unscathed! Go figure.

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