Every day, people call Ram saying, "we sent you our file 3 times already and you haven't received it!" (also known as "how can I trust you to be a technically advanced and hypercalibrated output center if you can't even receive a stupid file!?")

First off, this rarely has anything to do with Ram.  But this is why we have so many methods for getting us a file listed on our website.  This is why we have redundant FTP protocols, and why we pay to have our email able to accept monstrous attachments...  Your outgoing mail server, and to an extent our incoming mail server, is set up to block spam, and spam generally looks like the document you're trying to send us.  Think about it, your email box every morning is filled with spam--which spam often has pictures embedded or attached with no words, excessive spaces, links to download strange files without much textual explanation, links to 3rd party "file transfer sites", etc. Both the legitimate and illegitimate of our incoming mail fits that description.  Your mail will pass through your outgoing mail server at your local ISP/phone company/etc., their regional office, their area office, then our internet host's phone company's area office, regional office, local office, our host's office, then our phone company's offices, then to Ram.  That's how the internet always works, and it's amazing so much happens within a few seconds.  But each of these offices will have their own spam blockers, and each of these spam blockers will block the variables I listed above.  So,

Here's how to send a graphic arts related email that won't get blocked

  1. First and foremost, if you have any concerns and don't want to deal with it, just get it to us a different way.  FTPing us the file, whether on www.ramprint.com's interface or via ftp.ramprint.com, will not go through the anti-spam kind of filter.  And there is never a filter to bringing us a disk.  But if you're sending us a lot of mail, or this happens repeatedly, or this happens repeatedly with everyone you send a mail to, read on...
  2. Don't try to send an attachment that is larger than 5MB.  We at Ram can receive basically anything, but the odds are you can't send anything larger than 5MB unless you have a really expensive webmail service, and you would know if you did.
  3. Always put text in your email.  Even if you are just sending us one PDF, or one logo, or returning a PDF proof from us, put at least a few words of text.  Even "attached" will cut your chances of being seen by the robots as spam in half.  A blank email will get caught, but a blank email with a picture attached with always get caught. 
  4. Don't use excessive spaces.  That's just a statistically significant variable.  Spammers write unclean documents with crazy typos.  You know that and enjoy the websites that make fun of it.  Use tabs when you can.  Some call it "pornglish", which is an ellision of "poor english" with the added reference to that poor english is most found in porn emails.
  5. ZIP your files.  If you send us a bunch of pictures, they are more questionable than if you send us one ZIP file.  If you have an EXE, BAT, VBS or other common virus-carrying type of file, always zip it or even if it gets through Outlook will strip it before we see it.
  6. Proprietary PDF creators.  I, personally, generally recommend and generally use free or open source PDF creators.  At my desk at home, at work, and on every mission critical machine here at Ram we have very expensive full versions of Adobe Acrobat (e.g. mine came as part of the full CS4, which retails for $2500.)  Just know that PDFs created by anything but Acrobat are flagged by all of the largest spam blockers out there.
  7. Don't use excessive capitalization or 0bfu5c@t|0nz(obfuscations).  All of those are just things spammy people think they're sneaky by doing.  In 2009, if you use the word v|agra or vi@gra you're going to get caught.
  8. On that note, if you legitmately do sell Rolex watches or clean up people's credit, or are a mortgage company, you may want to research the rules that pertain to your discipline.  By that I mean there may be specific terms which, if you avoid or automatically replace with synonymous friendly terms, will solve all your problems.  ("Debt consolidation" may blacklist you, but if you change it to "debt refinancing," you may never have a problem again.  You at least need to know where to look to watch the evolving rules regarding such.)  Call us if you need a springboard, we can tell you where to look.  
  9. Leave nothing blank.  We mentioned putting text in your email.  It is just as common that people send us files with the subject line blank, and those always get blocked also.
  10. If you're going to have any HTML in your email, make sure it's "clean."  That doesn't apply to most of you, but it means an orphaned will get you blocked by any modern spam assassin.
  11. All things being equal, sending your email using a different mail client may help.  Everyone's set up to allow the way Outlook does things, and probably Thunderbird; but if you're using some peculiar program's Send to Email feature, it may embed some of the invisible variables in a strange way.  I had one blocked the other day because the "content type" was listed as "text/plain", which sounds very normal but just isn't one of the formats accepted by the standards-making bodies.
  12. Use SPF in your emails.  That'll require you ask your ISP what that is and to turn it on.  Just ask for proper MX settings.
  13. Here's a less common one that still deserves mention: if you are using your own domain (the part after the @ in your email address), make sure you have contact information registered with whois.  If you registered as "private" or "hidden," you will get a slight ding against you.
Please call if you would like us to add anything else to this list.  Happy emailing and call with questions!
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