Alexander: Ditch the spam label by breaking up a big e-mail list

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER
  • Star Tribune
  • June 4, 2013 - 5:24 PM

Q: I periodically send an e-mail to my several hundred small-business customers. But as my customer mailing list has grown, I’ve found that my outgoing e-mails have been blocked for 24 hours by either AT&T or Yahoo for “abuse.” I’ve wasted hours trying to resolve this with AT&T and Yahoo to no avail. I broke my distribution list into smaller groupings, but I’m still getting blocked. I’ve been told to use Gmail or some other e-mail service, but I hate to change my e-mail address. Any suggestions?

Dave Sledge, Denham Springs, La.


A: AT&T uses Yahoo for its branded e-mail. And Yahoo’s e-mail system is notorious for monitoring the number of identical e-mails a user sends, then automatically blocking the users that appear to be spammers (people who send huge volumes of junk or malicious e-mail). This blocking, while temporary, is intended to encourage spammers to use another e-mail system. I’m not sure that changing e-mail providers would help you much, because most big e-mail system operators react the same way Yahoo does.

The best solution is to avoid sending hundreds of identical e-mails in a short space of time. You could vary the content of your customer e-mails, so that they don’t appear to be identical spam messages. Or you could send your identical e-mails in batches of 10, spaced over several days, which might keep you below the threshold e-mail volume that causes Yahoo to label you a spammer.


Q: I’ve been using Microsoft Outlook on my 2010 MacBook Pro with the OS X version 10.6.8 operating system. But in March I started getting an error message when I tried to open Outlook. I still have the CD to reinstall Outlook. But is there an easy fix for this?

Michele Monlux, Modesto, Calif.


A: The fix is of medium difficulty. The Office for Mac software that includes the Outlook e-mail program can behave this way if it’s been moved to a new storage location on the hard drive or if there are duplicate copies of Office on the drive. Microsoft explains how to fix it at Another possibility is that the “user account” software for Office for Mac has become corrupted. If so, you’ll need to create a new user account. To do that, see


Q: The Documents icon disappeared from my Windows Vista PC Desktop. How can I restore it?

Lon Cross, ST. Louis Park


A: Click the Start button and select Documents from the menu. Then use the “Restore Down” button at the top right of the screen to make the Documents folder cover only part of your screen, so that the Desktop screen is visible beneath it. Use your mouse to drag the Documents folder icon to the Desktop. The folder won’t move, but the action will create a shortcut to the Documents folder on your Desktop.


E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@ or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include your name, city and telephone number.

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