Alma emails: provide matching plain-text alternative to reduce spamminess
Currently Alma emails only include an HTML-formatted variant. Anti-spam software will typically penalise messages that do not contain a plain-text variant, increasing the odds that the message will be marked as spam. Providing a plain-text variant would also benefit users of plain-text only email readers. The plain-text variant should resemble the unformatted content of the HTML-formatted variant. If they differ this might suggest that the sender is perhaps sending an innocuous text in the plain text part just to get through spam filters, and again, would be penalised for this.
Our Cloud Engineering team has posted a knowledge article outlining the ways to ensure that emails sent from Alma are not filtered or marked as spam. Its our experience that taking these steps does not require making changes in how the mail is formatted
Dan Michael O. Heggø commented
Thanks, Asaf Kline! We do not yet get DKIM signatures, but it's perhaps scheduled for the next release? Here's an example e-mail created just now: https://www.mail-tester.com/test-r67d6nge7 (Also notice that SpamAssassin punishes us quite hard for TO_NO_BRKTS_HTML_IMG)
Ex Libris has recently posted a blog describing steps we have taken to improve the overall score of emails sent via the system, to reduce the chance that such emails will be filtered as spam. Details can be found here: https://developers.exlibrisgroup.com/blog/improving-deliverability-emails-alma/
Dan Michael O. Heggø commented
Checked the SpamAssassin score from our university e-mail provider for some of the e-mails from Alma and thought I could share it with you. It's quite bad. The spam score is a sum of points you get for triggering different rules. If the sum is higher than 5, an e-mail is considered spam. We get 2.2 points for triggering MIME_HTML_ONLY and 2.2 points for MPART_ALT_DIFF, so that's 4.4 points just because there is no plain-text alternative, which is what this Ideas Exchange idea is about.
That leaves us with almost no room for other mistakes. The default e-mails embed a logo image, but spammers also love to use images to encode their message, since it's harder for spam filters to understand. If the ratio of text content to image content in an e-mail is too small, it's therefore considered a spam signal: the HTML_IMAGE_ONLY_28 rule adds 2.8 points for many of our shorter e-mails.
Oh, and not to say we get an additional 2.2 points for triggering TO_NO_BRKTS_HTML_IMG, because the e-mails contain one image AND did not include the recipient's name in the To: header (the latter is another thing Ex Libris should fix).
Given the current baseline spam-score of the e-mails from Alma, there's not much we can do but remove the logo from all e-mails. Unfortunately, removing it from the XSLT does not stop it from being attached, so TO_NO_BRKTS_HTML_IMG is still triggered.
Manu Schwendener commented
Luigi Siciliano commented
We had as well a lot of problems with our Alma emails being flagged as Spam. Therefore we strongly support this excellent suggestion. Thank you Jim for having described the issue in such a clear and comprehensive manner.