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If you are experiencing problems with Castweb please refer to the articles listed here. If you can't find what you need please contact us.

05 Feb 2007 - Hotmail and bulletin delivery issues

Hotmail and bulletin delivery issues

From time to time some Hotmail users report that bulletins do not arrive at their mailboxes.  Typically Hotmail works fine for weeks, months or years, and then suddenly no Castweb bulletins get through any more.

This problem is rather common and is at Hotmail. Most Hotmail users do not experience any difficulties but at times we get half a dozen calls a day from Hotmail customers wondering why they are not receiving bulletins. We send email directly so are able to see and log mails being successfully delivered, but they are not getting placed in some users inboxes once inside the Hotmail system.  Hotmail silently deletes incoming email detected as spam by its primary spam filters (see below) so we do not receive any bounce messages notifying delivery failures. We will not be aware of any problems unless you tell us.

Hotmail is a free service that offers no guarantees about service quality, periodically loses users' mail (in our experience of running mailing lists for many years), and is unresponsive to users' support inquiries. All you can do is make sure Castweb bulletins are not being deleted accidentally or misidentified as spam.

Hotmail should 'whitelist' any email from anyone in your address book so that it bypasses user's spam filters completely. You can add us by opening any message from Castweb.co.uk and clicking on "Save Address" at the right hand side of the toolbar. It will then prompt you to enter some details about us if you want, and then click OK.

Please also check that your account security settings are set to 'low'. This reduces but does not eliminate the possibility of Hotmail discarding your bulletins as they arrive. Even if you have set 'low' in the past, please check this again as Hotmail appear to periodically reset users security settings, probably after database updates.

However this may not work. We have spent many, many hours investigating this issue. Hotmail spam filtering is two-level. All incoming mail passes through primary filters (the ironically-titled 'SmartScreen') that try to eliminate most spam. Users have no control at all over filtering at this level, only over the secondary filters associated with your account. If Castweb bulletins are discarded by SmartScreen there is absolutely nothing you or we can do. Hotmail regrettably have very little interest in addressing the delivery problems this creates - we have tried, our customers have tried and Google will find many legitimate senders struggling with the same issue.

Hotmail users who believe we are making this up should read this 'Hotmail antispam measures snuff out legit mails too' article at The Register, then these tests of Hotmail that show it failing to deliver up to 81% of email sent, then perhaps go and sign this petition against Hotmail's 'Smartscreen' filtering. Chances are Hotmail is throwing away a large proportion of your email and you just haven't realised it.

We recommend that if at all possible you use a 'proper' ISP's mail address, or even Yahoo or Gmail free accounts instead. Gmail is the most reliable and trouble-free of the free providers in our experience, and you can get a Gmail account here. Castweb will soon be introducing 'my account' pages where you will be able to change addresses yourself, but for now, if you are able to change to a more reliable provider please let us know the email address you would prefer to use and we will switch bulletin delivery for you.