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Did spam filter cost schools $250K?


The scenario is familiar: A co-worker or friend sent you an e-mail, only there's no trace of it in your in-box. The culprit? On overeager spam filter, trapping regular e-mail along with the Viagra pitches and Nigerian bank fraud letters.


Most times, the situation is easily resolved. In the case of the Cobb County school system in Georgia, however, a spam filter is causing a political dust-up.

Officials say a bid to provide telephone services to the system was gobbled up by the filter, and the bidder was subsequently disqualified, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The term "long distance" was apparently what triggered the block.

The school system had requested an e-mail as a follow-up to the formal bid, which had previously been submitted on paper. When they didn't see the reply, officials dismissed the bidder and awarded the contract to another--more expensive--contractor. Now the bidder and the school system are arguing over whose fault it was.

Blog community response:

"After all that, though, the school district is still blaming the vendor, saying a good bidder knows it needs to outwit spam filters."

"I've watched with amusement as people go from complaining that they're getting spam to complaining their friends forwarding chain letters are getting flagged as spammers."
--Pointman's Page

"If it can happen to a business communication, you know it can happen to 'Please Donate to Save The World'. There are a lot of reasons e-mail might not reach its final destination. Keeping abreast of the red flags a popular application like SpamAssassin uses to judge messages is well worth doing if newslettering is in your job description. Really, take a look. You might be surprised what pisses off a spam filter."

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