Hotmail rolls out features to help deal with gray mail

Discussion in 'In The News' started by roundabout, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. roundabout

    roundabout VIP

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    Hotmail rolls out features to help deal with gray mail

    In a story announced last week, Hotmail has released a new version of itself to help users deal with the problem of gray mail. Gray mail is marketing mail that straddles the line between spam and ham; to some it’s spam, but to others it is legitimate. This makes it difficult for filters to make a global decision because no matter what action the filters takes at a global level, users will either complain about missed spam or false positives (an example from back in the day were messages from reunion.com).

    From the Hotmail blog:
    [​IMG]

    When inbox spam was at 30%, our job was really clear—our enemy, clever as he remains, was impossible to miss. We made huge investments in SmartScreen and reduced spam to historic lows of less than 3%.

    With spam at manageable levels, we began looking at the rest of the inbox, and what we found was pretty surprising.

    [​IMG]

    We could easily tell which messages were person-to-person, and we identified spam getting past our filters. The majority of what was left was something we refer to as graymail, and when thinking about how to deal with graymail, it became clear that the fundamental problem wasn’t just which things to accept or reject. Unlike spam, which everyone wants to be rid of, there is no general agreement on how to deal with graymail.

    <snip>

    Using Hotmail’s categorization tool, you can change the categorization of a message—for example, marking or unmarking it as a newsletter. This generates feedback that the newsletter filter learns from, so it’s able to overcome previous mistakes as well as stay on top of new newsletters. This means the rules set up to deal with newsletters will not just apply to old ones, but also to new newsletters created after you’ve refined the rules to deal with newsletters. The best part is that SmartScreen learns from what customers do with their newsletters, and everyone benefits as the filter gets smarter!

    The essence of the feature is that Hotmail’s spam filters are getting better and better trained to identify newsletters and allow its users to categorize the mails efficiently, visually marking them as such so users can navigate their inbox quicker.

    Users can the mark or unmark newsletters depending on what they think the message is. This helps to build a more personalized inbox.

    The feature is similar to Gmail’s Priority Inbox which has been around for a little over a year.

    Source:
    http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_...e-than-one-billion-newsletters-every-day.aspx
     
  2. DKPMO

    DKPMO VIP

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    The real question is what they mean by "Other"
     
  3. roundabout

    roundabout VIP

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    "Other" = Roundy's Mail
     
  4. DoldGigga

    DoldGigga VIP

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    One has to wonder what prompted this change...and quite honestly I don't see the benefit of spending a lot of money to reduce "spam" levels for a free email service.
     
  5. reddorado

    reddorado VIP

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    Hey Roundabout --
    Thanks for sharing -- this is an interesting read. So it sounds like (among other categories) they now have Inbox, Junk and Newsletters. Does anyone have any performance metrics to share about what happens when you are categorized in the Newsletter bucket? Curious how the ECPMs compare to Junk.

    Also - who here is using the List-Unsubscribe header? We have implemented that for our Hotmail users only. But since it's one of the signals that the Hotmail filters are using to identify Newsletters, I wonder if it's a net-positive or not. We might start a split test where we use it on some IPs and don't use it on others and see what happens in terms of ECPMs and JMRP rates, etc. If so, I will share those metrics with the group.
    --Red
     

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