Archive for the ‘announcements’ Category

Shaw email SPAM filters for addresses are mediocre

Monday, January 24th, 2011


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. Pricing Change

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Happy New Year!

We’ve hinted at this for years, and we’re finally doing it today. Premium Access account upgrades are now $12, but we are also  officially increasing the access term by 50% to 3 years. Previously, it was $10 for a 2 year term.  The 2 years expiry was never enforced, and we currently have no plans to enforce the 3 year expiry.

A few thoughts on our pricing and term length change.

The price has never changed since was launched in 2005. If we estimate an average inflation of 2% per year, we have lost 10% of our revenue after adjusting for inflation.  Further, as a Canadian firm, where our operating expenses and salaries are paid out in Canadian funds, we’ve had a large hit from the rise in the Canadian Dollar over  the US Dollar – but that’s a problem for all Canadian exporters, not just us *.


On the feature side, when was originally launched, an upgrade gave you the following feature(s):


  • The ability to print up to 200 pages per run of standard numeric bingo cards.

Yes, that’s really it.

We did not have customizable bingo cards, design saving features, draw chips, randomized draw lists, or serial number features initially.  These were all added over time as the user base of the site grew.

Today, an upgrade to will get you the following feature(s):


  • The ability to print up to 1000 pages per run of standard numeric cards, or the customizable word bingo cards
  • Generate and print randomized Bingo calling cards to quickly call your game.
  • Generate and print calling chips for drawing your terms from a hat or box.
  • Generate bingo cards with serial numbers to help you ensure that cards have been generated by you.
  • Keep your saved or emailed Bingo card designs indefinitely (vs. 30 days for guest users).

I think that we offer much better value now than we did a few years ago.

About the 2 year versus 3 year terms.  When launched, we had no idea if it would be worth our while to run this site indefinitely. So, we picked a length of time that we were sure that we could promise our users.   Now that our site is well established, we’re pretty confident that we can increase our guaranteed length of access  by 50% to 3 years – even this is probably conservative.

* For the curious, our first sale was on 2005-08-10 at 13:55, at that time,  USD 1 =  CAD 1.214.  At the time of writing (late December 2010), USD 1 = CAD 1.00644 .