I am part of a team that administers e-mail for users in eight time zones. Once we began using spam filters, we received calls and messages from employees whose outside e-mail from a specific person or domain was not reaching them. The implication was almost always that our spam filters were to blame for blocking the e-mail.
To make our lives easier we created a new filter condition for each blocking rule on our inbound SMTP servers. We call this our "Get out of jail free" card. We came up with a simple phrase that was easy to remember, but unlikely to occur by accident. If that phrase appears anywhere in the e-mail subject line, the filter is by-passed and the message is allowed to continue.
This way an employee who thinks inbound mail is being blocked can ask the sender to resend the message with the failsafe phrase in the subject line. If our filters were blocking the mail, it would now go through, indicating that the sender or domain should be added to our white list. If the message still does not come through, we have evidence that the problem is not on our end, rather the likely cause is a problem or restriction on the senders side.
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This was first published in November 2004