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False Positive

March 19, 2014 - By 

A false positive is an instance where a spam filter mistakenly recognises an otherwise legitimate email as spam, sending it to the spam folder, or worse, sending it back to the sender as an email bounce.

Sometimes, spam filters fail to differentiate bulk unsolicited mail from legitimate B2B or B2C communication, even when the recipient made a prior subscription. This creates a problem for successful business communication as false-positives usually result in missed opportunities, missed appointments and lost prospects, which translate into lost financial gains for a business. The mark of a good spam filter, therefore, is not only how much spam it intercepts, but also how many false positives it bounces back. However, a flawless spam filter is simply not possible, and for this reason, some businesses choose to have all spam filter turned off.

At the very worst end of things is what is called a ‘critical false positive’. This is when normal human to human emails are marked as spam and bounced back even with prior communication.