Another Bad Byproduct of Sp*m Filters

Hi Angela,

Here’s another writer/publisher submission problem … also a byproduct of the flood of sp*m all of us receive.

I am the publisher and chief editor for flashquake, a paying, online literary journal, and also the person who processes the submissions sent via e-mail. We always acknowledge receipt of a submission, and we always send out acceptance/rejection notices — including editorial comments on the work — after the reading period has ended.

Lately, I’ve seen a spate of, “Hi there, this is so-and-so’s sp*m filter and if you want to get to him/her, you’ll have to register with me,” messages. Now this is not only annoying, it takes up a lot of time and usually involves one of those obnoxious pictures that look more like an eye test than anything else. In order to get past the filter, you have to type what you see in the picture. (Although how they expect anyone with low or no vision to use one of these beats me.) Then you have to wait and see if the filter will accept you.

When this service was first implemented, I received up to 5-6 submissions per day that required that I “register.” Now, I don’t bother. If a writer wants to receive feedback from us on the status of his/her submission, they will need to pre-register our domain as one that they will allow mail from or they won’t hear back from us. I have yet to bypass a submission we selected for publication because of this maddening practice, but I am prepared to do so if the need arises.

Also, this does nothing to mitigate virus risks, since viruses have become so adept at spoofing legitimate e-mail addresses.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I hope you’ll run it so that writers realize that they may be jeopardizing their chances at publication by using this “tool.”

Debi Orton
oradnio (at)’s Comment:

I agree with Debi on this one. If someone needs to receive a message from me, they need to put me on their list of good domains. I can’t tell which of these sp*m filtering services are legitimate, and which ones are set up scam operations (in the hopes of deciphering good email addresses from dead ones). While I think this type of business was a good idea a year or so ago, there is too much room for abuse now and they end up filtering out plenty of legitimate email, like that from editors and publishers.