Error: "TechMail unable to deliver because message was scored as spam."


You receive the following undeliverable notification when sending a message through TechMail:

TechMail unable to deliver because message was scored as spam. Please alter message and re-send. For assistance, contact 806-742-HELP.


Outgoing messages from the TechMail system are run through Microsoft's Content Filtering Agent (CFA) and scored on a ten point scale called a Spam Confidence Level (SCL).

  • SCL 0-6 - Low confidence of being spam. These messages are delivered as usual. It is still possible for the recipient's spam filter to block your message.
  • SCL 7-9 - The message is not delivered and you receive the notification above.

TechMail administrators do not control the scoring process; it is based on periodic updates received from Microsoft.

These measures exist to protect the reputation of the TechMail servers with other email providers. Large amounts of spam messages sent from TechMail can cause email providers such as Gmail or Hotmail to block all incoming messages from addresses for a period of time. This can affect the entire university's ability to conduct business.

NOTE: If you need to send messages to a large number of recipients for matters not related to TTU, you may need to use the services of a third party email system.


Send personal emails through a personal email account rather than through TechMail. For official TTU correspondence, you may alter the message contents in order to pass through the filter.


Personal correspondence

Emails which are unrelated to official Texas Tech business or academic purposes should be sent using personal email accounts. For example, if you are emailing a list of items for your spouse to pick up at the store on the way home, that type of correspondence should be sent from your personal account rather than your TechMail account.

For official correspondence between individuals at Texas Tech, please use your TechMail account for both sending and receiving.

Alter the message content before sending

You can alter the content of the email being sent to avoid having the message scored as SCL 7-9. No junk email filtering solution is perfect, and the CFA makes a judgment based on multiple factors, especially the subject line and message body. You may also consider putting some of the content into a Microsoft Word document and attaching it to the email message instead of putting the content directly into the message body; this may allow the content to pass through the filters where it otherwise would not.

Microsoft's spam filters are based on known behavior patterns of spammers. Microsoft does not reveal the specifics of their anti-spam technology, nor does any other vendor, as this information would be used to create messages that would bypass filters. The following conditions may increase the likelihood of your message being scored as spam, and so you may wish to consider changing these things if they apply to your message.

  • Misspelled words in the subject line and body
  • Use of words and acronyms not likely to be found in a common dictionary including scientific and technical terms, particularly in the subject line
  • Sending email from a POP/IMAP client via SMTP rather than using a native Exchange client, such as Outlook or Outlook on the web.
  • Sending messages in plain text
  • Sending to multiple recipients, especially a large number of recipients
  • Sending to addresses in an international mail domain
  • Messages sent at hours atypical of most email usage
  • Not having details in your signature (i.e., your name is the only thing in your signature)
  • Inclusion of words and characters typically found in spam. For tips, please see How junk email filtering systems detect spam messages by examining key words in the subject and body.

NOTE: Your Safe and Blocked lists have no effect on outbound message delivery.