Apr 9, 2009

Do spam filters read Alt-Text?

firefoxscreensnapz008Someone over in the MailChimp Jungle asked, "Do spam filters read Alt-text descriptions?" I honestly had no idea, so I took my most recent MonkeyWrench email newsletter, replicated it, and I typed in the most awful, disgusting alt-text descriptions that I could think of.

Seriously, I had to wash my fingers after typing such nasty stuff, and I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror for a day or two.

In addition to the yuckiness, I typed in a bunch of stuff about gambling, and some phishing type content. And I made sure to use all caps, with lots of exclamation points (see why spam filters hate that).

Then I ran it through our Inbox Inspector’s Spam Checker tool…

Turns out I passed all the major spam filters!

My Spam Assassin score wasn’t great (anything over a 5 is DOA but I like to stay well below 3). But that seems to be because of other problems.

In terms of the extremely disgusting alt-text descriptions I used, they don’t seem to have triggered anything at all:

spam-filter-check

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