My ISP functions as a sort-of "introducing broker" for a larger organization, which, presumably, also handles the mail routing to the smaller ISPs like mine. Earlier this year, an organization called "Postini.com" was contracted to filter mail in the manner of the Yahoo "Bulk Mail" service. All letters sent to my mail address go through Postini first, and those letters not deemed "junk" are forwarded to my ISP's mail server.
While the setup works reasonably well, it's a bit of a Rube Goldberg construct. "Reasonably well" implies a mail filtering system that doesn't differentiate 100% of the time between junk mail and wanted mail. (Actually, I doubt the best computers could ever achieve 100% differentiation since one man's junk is another man's welcome opportunity to profit from the absurd currency wiring schemes of non-existent African regimes.) More to the point, Postini has a penchant for retaining substantive correspondence that fits none of the filters designed to catch junk: porn, "get rich," and "free gift."
Consequently, one must periodically log-in to the Postini site to access the "Bulk Mail" folder. This seemingly defeats the purpose of filtering the mail in the first place (since you could have just gone through it on your own computer)plus it's an inconvenience to be forced to log-in to another site to read your own mis-boxed correspondence. Perhaps the server and bandwidth loads on the ISPs have become so great due to spam that it's cost effective to pay another company to lop-off most of the traffic before it reaches the end networks.
Other than the absurdity of Postini (from the mail recipient's point-of-view), I've also noticed a tendency for letters espousing "unpopular views" simply never to arrive--as if they'd never been mailed. Since the advent of Postini, the letters from another list have also ceased arriving in my ISP box and in the Postini "bulk mail" online folder, a fate which appears to have also befallen the Birdman Weekly Letter.
It's something to look out for. I've been informed of other p.c. shenanigans by other companies, but I'm now reasonably sure I've also been the recipient of cyber foul play in the name of efficiency (and in lieu of my wanted mail!).
Perhaps this Yahoo address will function better than my own ISP's.
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