Users fume over spam overload
Independent Financial Review - 19 September 2007
Telecom customers are fuming over a massive jump in spam on their new
email service, a few weeks after they were shut out from their email.
Telecom upgraded it customers to the new email service, Yahoo! Xtra
Bubble, at the end of August.
It was forced to make a $7 million apology after thousands of customers
were unable to receive or send email on the new service.
The escalating spam problem is another blow for the company which is
fighting to keep customers after its botched attempt to transfer 800,000
customers to the new system.
Xtra customers say genuine contacts are being falsely identified as spam,
including contacts with an Xtra email address. It seems the new service
has not carried over the history of regular email subscriptions, recognising
many of them as spam instead.
Telecom Xtra customer Katrina Wright told The Independent Financial
Review she has received 500 to 600 emails marked as spam since the
email upgrade. "Before that I was getting hardly any at all."
She has found her regular group emails from Ezibuy, Air New Zealand and
Ticketek are being marked as spam, as are some emails from personal
"I am stunned. It's stuff that we regularly get, including New Zealand
Every few days, Wright has to scour through the spam folder and retrieve
A user from the internet forum Geekzone, who runs his business via Xtra
email, said his spam messages have jumped from 10 a day to around 100
since the upgrade.
"A fair chunk of them are my customers? emails that have been falsely
identified as spam and require that I basically check every email that
doesn't contain the word viagra in the subject line."
He chose to redirect all his Xtra email to Google's Gmail to strip the spam
and avoid his customers' email being identified as spam.
Another user on the PC World internet forum said emails from Trade Me,
work and his email address were being blocked.
"I can't accept that Trade Me is still being flagged as spam. It's the most
popular site in NZ. Excellent planning there guys."
Telecom's chief consumer operating officer Kevin Kenrick, who was in
charge of the firm's upgrade, was not available to comment.
Kenrick has resigned and will leave in mid-December.
Telecom's Adrian Littlewood said Yahoo has the world's "best practice" in
the management of spam.
"People need to learn how to actively manage the spam in their email
system," he said.
People can highlight emails from their spam folder as genuine contacts, he
Customers can also create alternative email addresses to use as a point of
contact when signing up for groups such as Ezibuy, he said.
The new service can store 500 alternative email addresses. Spam has
risen 350% in the past year.
"It's a significant issue for us," said Littlewood.
He pointed to the findings of anti-spam provider SMX, who have found
spam traffic rose 100% between May and August.
It attributed the sudden spike in spam volumes to spammers in the
northern hemisphere returning from their summer holidays.