Earthlink and the devil's spam filter

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Breaking away from the traditional Q&A format today, I’d like to offer a small piece of advice to Earthlink customers:

Earthlink’s spamBlocker is the tool of the devil if it’s not configured properly.

And by that, I mean this:

Let’s suppose you’ve sent me a message asking for help with a Mac problem. I take time out of my day to find an answer and reply. I’m rewarded for my effort with an automated reply that begins:

I apologize for this automatic reply to your email. To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.

To which I reply:

I apologize for this automatic reply to your automatic reply, but if you can’t be bothered to add my email address to your “approved list” before asking for my help, I can’t be bothered to take that extra step to ensure that my reply reaches you. Thanks so much for wasting my time.

To avoid this kind of automated reply (which, quite honestly, occurs only in my head), I suggest this:

1. As the message suggests, add to your whitelist any address you send a message to before sending that message. You’ll find that you make and keep friends more easily by doing so.

2. Send a politely worded message to the Powers That Be at Earthlink and ask them why, in the 21st Century, you can’t configure their spam filter to automatically add to the whitelist any addresses you send to.

3. Receiving no satisfactory reply from Earthlink, find another ISP that doesn’t engage in this kind of idiocy.

4. Dial down spamBlocker to the Known Spam Blocking option, which, as far as I can tell, does its best to block obvious spam, but doesn’t enrage those you send messages to by demanding that they fire up their Web browsers to deal with your spam problems.

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