Fusemail auto-suspends spam-suspect accounts!

My troubles with Fusemail were caused by automated outbound spam filtering system Fusemail utilizes!  Fusemail filters all outbound email for spam and when their system thinks an email you’re sending is spam, it incredibly deactivates your account, automatically! According to their tech support (who finally returned my call 15 hours later) the block from a suspected spammer account is removed usually very quickly, and in case of my yesterday’s troubles the block removal, somehow, slipped through the cracks.

Once the account was reactivated, I tried re-sending the email that triggered the trouble, and sure enough, the account became blocked again! This time it was unblocked within minutes, but what’s concerning is that it’s just a standard business email with few paragraphs of text, a bulleted list, and few domain names mentioned.  I also sent it to an internal distribution list that I had defined in Fusemail.  No external recipients.

So, basically, it seems I’m not allowed to send this email because the email is rejected before it’s sent, and then my account becomes blocked until they unblock it.  What an incredibly, incredibly stupid way of operating an email gateway service!! Because any outbound message that you send can be considered spam and thus lead to the automated account suspension—and if you run a spam filter you know that ‘good’ emails get trapped in the spam filter now and then while an occasional spam mail gets through—Fusemail can in a business setting be only considered a mail RECEIVING service.  Imagine sending a completely innocuous email in the middle of a busy day, and your account becomes suspended if their automated filtering system deems your email spam! Perhaps they’ll unblock it in a few minutes, but how many inbound messages bounce during that time? Or, like in my case, you send an email on Saturday evening and your account is suspended until the next morning — both for sending and receiving.

It is reasonable for a mail service provider to monitor outbound mail for spam to prevent abuse of their systems.  But rather than having an automated system block accounts on its own, it should absolutely work in reverse where potential spammer accounts would be flagged for suspension, and then a technician would assess whether the user was indeed sending spam.  My guess is that false positives occur way more often than actual spammers being shut down; and besides, it’s much less of a problem if a spammer get few messages out before being shut down than legitimate users being shut down on suspicion. Otherwise, like in the case of my email that triggered the trouble, I can never send the message without reformatting it (or, perhaps, sending it individually to all intended recipients). For all I care I should be able to send GTUBE message through the system without it getting blocked. I’m not sending spam.

Fusemail is still a reasonably good solution for receiving mail; it has integrated spam-filter even with an optional sender confirmation, and there is [supposedly] reasonable amount of redundancy so mail reception for multiple accounts is more stable than, say, running an internal singular mail server.

But for outbound email I will be setting up an internal SMTP server.  I can’t risk an outbound email disabling mail reception for an unknown period of time. If you’re considering Fusemail, then consider running Postfix on *NIX, or perhaps some simple Windows SMTP server like Corporate SMTP Server locally for outbound mail.

Fusemail, this sucks! Fix it!