Comcast Email Issues Make Me Want To Poke My Eye Out

June 4th, 2009

I’m beyond frustrated with Comcast email issues… I’m writing this post for two reasons:

  1. To inform users and people who sign up for JibberJobber that they WILL NOT get email from us anytime soon – so those birthday reminders, action item reminders, signup verification, password reminders… none of that will get to you until we can get this resolved.
  2. To tell people, whether you use Comcast as your ISP or email provider, that there is a much, much better way to handle your email.

First, for the issue of the JibberJobber mail server not able to send to Comcast addresses.  I was an email admin a while back and know that we will never win the war on spam.  Never.  It’s a huge issue, of course, as no one likes spam.  But sometimes the rules put into place cause more problems than they fix.

For example, when I was an email admin we set a “threshold” so that certain emails would go through (the good ones) and others would get stuck in a spam bucket (the bad ones).  Guess what? There were a number of “false positives,” that is, emails that were GOOD but got marked as spam.

Executives (who are typically the most whiney in situations like this) at first complained they got too much spam.  So we change the threshold so they get no (or little) spam, and then they whined they weren’t getting the important emails (the false positives, usually from their kids).

The problem here is that Comcast has blacklisted our server, which means NOTHING will go from our server to a Comcast email address.  We have tried to go through their process of getting off the blacklist, but have heard NOTHING back from them.  Very unprofessional.  Maybe @comcastcares on Twitter, but this is living hell for me, as I have a bunch of users saying “I never got _____ email.” And indeed, they are writing from a Comcast email address.

I’ll try again today, based on this blog post about getting off of Comcasts blacklist, but I’m not hopeful.

Enough about me and JibberJobber – now for the regular person.  I strongly encourage you to get a Gmail email account, for a few reasons:

  • Gmail has an awesome interface on the internet, and other interfaces (with Outlook, etc.).
  • Gmail interfaces with other cool tools, like the Google Calendar.
  • Gmail has awesome spam management.  Rarely have I seen problems in their logic, which amazes me.
  • Your Gmail address WON’T EVERY CHANGE.  Let me present a scenerio… today you are on Comcast (or Quest or whatever)… and then you move and get a different ISP or phone service.  Guess what – you will likely get a different email address… and have to tell all of your contacts.  Do this a few times and it’s frustrating to YOU and your contacts.  Get one gmail address now and keep it forever… regardless of who your ISP is.
  • Gmail makes you look more sophistacated (or up to speed, or whatever) than other providers like AOL (old), Juno (older), Yahoo, etc.

There ya go.  I gotta stop writing and go try and get off of Comcast’s blacklist.  Grrrrrrrrrr…….

Oh yeah, in case you are having blacklist problems with your email server going to Comcast, here are some good reads:

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city, state or zip jobs by job search

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9 Responses to “Comcast Email Issues Make Me Want To Poke My Eye Out”

  1. Jason, this is so true, but it’s so hard to get anybody to act on it. When I speak to groups, I always tell them that if they’re on Comcast I will not reply to their emails. Why? Same problem you have. In my case, the ISP who provided the service that included my email account had bought an Internet address that was once used by a spammer. So I couldn’t send any email at all to Comcast.

    Comcast is especially dumb about spam filtering. Most people think they filter by content, and maybe they do some of that. But their basic filtering is by the IP address of the machine that sent the email. That’s easy for them to do, but lousy for their customers.

    If you’re looking for a job, you NEED a Gmail account. It has the best deliverability. Keep cuddles@comcast.net for your friends, but get a professional address for your job search. I’ve written about this more extensively here:

    http://feigenson.us/blog/?p=426

    BTW, Comcast is the worst, but almost all the online services are bad. For example, SBCGlobal email can take days to get to the recipient.

    Walt

  2. Jason Alba says:

    Maybe this internet thingy does work (you know, complaining on a blog)… I submitted my request and just got off the blacklist (which is NOT as good as being whitelisted)… anyway, here’s CROSSING FINGERS that we stay off.

    Oh, for the email admins out there, I have checked to see if I’m on any other blacklists (nope. They are of the devil, imo), and we have our Reverse DNS fine (according to tests).

  3. Jason, the fact that you could get off the blacklist (at least for now) is great, but it doesn’t change the basic equation. If you want to get a job, get GMail. You cannot trust your job search to Comcast. If a company is blacklisted, they may not even know it (or care). How many potential employers would go to the trouble you did to get an email through about an interview appointment?

  4. Jason Alba says:

    absolutely right – especially if you aren’t one of the employers top picks, I doubt they’ll go to the trouble to get in touch with you if their email bounces back.

  5. eric shannon says:

    a few months ago Comcast stopped delivering anything I sent in HTML format… plain text gets through however.

    – Eric

  6. Jason Alba says:

    @Eric, thanks for that info – afaik we are only sending plain text from our server – I’ll verify that.

  7. reinkefj says:

    Perhaps a good argument to NEVER use an ISP’s email. Either as the sender or the receiver!

    (The ISPs just give you “free email” to lock you in!)

    That goes for ANY ISP; not just Comcast. I’ve seen acquisitions that caused end users to “lose” their treasured email address! It’s really not “yours” when you have an ISP. They can sell, go bankrupt, just “realign”, or just rename themselves!

    May I suggest that you have your own domain? The common wisdom, or is that common whizdumb, is to own your own name as a domain name. I own “reinke.cc”. (I like saying “sea sea me at reinke.cc”! Even “me” @ reinke.cc will actually work!) It gives one quite a bit of control. And, it’s very cheap. I know three solutions: 15$/year using wordpressdotcom with underlying gmail but your own name; 25$/year email only with 1and1; and 60$/year for domain+email+webspace also at 1and1.

    My point is not that you should use 1and1. I could care less which one you use. It’s that getting onto your own domain with email is cheap and easy. And, it’s not hotmail, yahoo, or gmail. It IS your own “personal brand”.

  8. Kathy says:

    Oh, Jason, I really got a chuckle from this post! You just affirmed my reason to use Gmail vs. Comcast email. I like Gmail for another reason: you can create as many Gmail accounts as you want. I have three I currently use for specific groups. I am so sorry to learn of YOUR difficulties with Comcast. I’ve heard horror stories from others. I truly hope your problem gets resolved very soon.

    Warmly,
    ~Kathy

  9. reinkefj says:

    @Kathy You can have the best of all worlds with getting your own domain for the branding and use the google for the applications. You’re using GMAIL but no one knows it but you. imho, fjohn

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