Solution is near for campus emails diverted to junk folders

Loyal readers of many campus e-newsletters and emails have had to search their junk email folders recently to find their latest installments. Most likely it's because Microsoft's Outlook spam filters -- in a valiant attempt to divert fraudulent or unsolicited pleas to where they belong -- see red flags when a mass email from an outside vendor such as Constant Contact or Mail Chimp is sent from an address.

"The filters see that combination as a forgery and flag it as junk," explained Chris Farley, interim manager of IT services' identity services unit, which includes email. He noted that filtering email is a multilayered process that must change frequently to be effective.

Farley's team has been aware of the issue for several weeks and is testing a solution that would authenticate messages sent by select third-party vendors from addresses. He's hopeful IT leaders will provide final approval within a few weeks.

This broader solution still wouldn't override anyone's individual spam filters that send an email to the junk folder.

Short-term strategies

In the meantime, Farley encourages Iowa State employees to check their junk folders throughout the day to see what might have landed there in error. Instead of dragging a file to your inbox, he advised readers to take the step to label it as "not junk." This moves it to your inbox but also provides feedback to Microsoft for its filters.

Communications professionals on campus whose mass emails start landing mostly in readers' junk folders are encouraged to contact the IT Solution Center and describe the problem. A service ticket will be created, and Farley's mail team will get involved.

He said his staff has assisted ISU communications teams, case by case, to achieve the best delivery possible while working to get the long-term solution in place.