Interpreting Spam Tests

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All Spam Test results include a Spam Status of either Pass or Fail.


Some will also include a numeric Spam Score, which should be interpreted according the application-specific guidelines below. Scores are not directly comparable across different applications: a Barracuda score of 5.0, for example, does not have the same significance as a SpamAssassin score of 5.0.


Some results that include a Spam Score also include Details, which you can see by hovering over the Details icon, as in the screenshot below. Bulleted items that are displayed in a bold font are considered to be more important than those in a normal-weight font.


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AOL Mail

This filter is offered as part of AOL's mail service. Although recipients can aid delivery by adding the sender's email address to their address book, this filter assumes that the sender has not been added to the address book and therefore represents a more pessimistic spam scoring.


A Pass/Fail will be returned for AOL Mail.


Barracuda

Barracuda Spam Firewall is an expensive hardware spam filter that is installed by large organizations within their own data centers. Barracuda reports a single score, between 0 and 10, and a flag indicating whether the email is considered to be spam. You should be aiming for a score below 3.5.


Please note that for some very spam-like emails, Barracuda will quarantine the email. In these cases the Spam Status will be Fail, and the Spam Score will be 10.0 (the maximum).


Barracuda results will include a Pass/Fail, a Spam Score, and sometimes additional Details.


DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a system that uses DNS to confirm that the sender is authorized to use the sending domain name. It also uses encryption to validate that the email was not tampered with during transit. Since Fishbowl administers DNS for your sending domain, and since Fishbowl's servers provide the necessary encryption, this test should always return a Pass.


A Pass/Fail will be returned for DKIM.


Gmail

The filter is offered as part of Google's Gmail service. Although recipients can aid delivery by adding the sender's email address to their address book, this filter assumes that the sender has not been added to the address book and therefore represents a more pessimistic spam scoring.


A Pass/Fail will be returned for Gmail.


GMX

The filter offered as part of GMX service. Although recipients can aid delivery by adding the sender's email address to their address book, this filter assumes that the sender has not been added to the address book and therefore represents a more pessimistic spam scoring.


A Pass/Fail will be returned for GMX.


Mail.com

The filter offered as part of Mail.com service. Although recipients can aid delivery by adding the sender's email address to their address book, this filter assumes that the sender has not been added to the address book and therefore represents a more pessimistic spam scoring.


A Pass/Fail will be returned for Mail.com.


MessageLabs

MessageLabs is an expensive corporate server-side spam filter. It is used by many large organizations and is regularly updated.


Somewhat confusingly, MessageLabs score in two different ways. On most emails, MessageLabs will actually report the score from a very well configured SpamAssassin installation, but there is no threshold in this case. So even with a score a 4, the email may be marked as spam. Sometimes, however, MessageLabs will process the email using its own filter, which reports a very similar score to SpamAssassin but rounded to the nearest whole number.


In both cases, a score of 3 or more is to be avoided, but the Pass/Fail in the Spam Score column will always indicate whether the email was considered spam by MessageLabs.


A Pass/Fail and a Spam Score will be returned for MessageLabs.


Outlook

The built-in junk e-mail filter for Outlook, which ships as part of Microsoft Office. The Outlook filter has various sensitivity settings, but in the context of this test the sensitivity is always set it to 'High'. The Outlook filter scores from 0-10 on the High sensitivity rating, with 0 being the highest (passing) and 10 being the lowest (failing). Outlook rates an email with a 6.0 or higher (out of 10) as a failure. A lower score (lower than 6.0) is considered a passing score.


A Pass/Fail will be returned for Outlook.


Sender ID

Sender ID is an e-mail sending validation system designed to prevent e-mail spam by using DNS to confirm that the sender is permitted to send from specific servers and/or IP addresses. Fishbowl administers DNS for your sending domain, so this test should always return a Pass.


A Pass/Fail will be returned for Sender ID.


SpamAssassin

SpamAssassin is a very popular open source spam filter that offers a large set of configurable rules to determine whether an email is spam. This test uses SpamAssassin's default settings.


SpamAssassin scores can be either positive or negative, with higher values indicating a greater likelihood that your email will be classified as spam. In general, your email should have a score of 5.0 or lower to be considered passing. Negative numbers are always considered passing.


SpamAssassin results will include a Pass/Fail, a Spam Score, and sometimes additional Details.


Yahoo! Mail

The filter offered as part of Yahoo's mail service. Although recipients can aid delivery by adding the sender's email address to their address book, this filter assumes that the sender has not been added to the address book and therefore represents a more pessimistic spam scoring.


A Pass/Fail will be returned for Yahoo! Mail.