By Ian Bush

By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Your e-mail inbox might not seem like it, but a new study finds that more commercial e-mails are getting routed to recipients’ “spam” folders.

And one expert says that’s bad for businesses and consumers alike.

Some people like getting special offers and seeing what their favorite brands are up to, says Tom Sather, a senior director at the e-mail marketing and research firm Return Path.  But, he points out, “One in four commercial messages — messages that people are signing up for — are not reaching the inbox.”

Sather says that’s a six-percent drop from the first half of last year.  Why the record low?

“E-mail providers are tightening the scrutiny in the spam filters.”

And we’re overwhelmed by messages.  In many cases, instead of unsubscribing, more users are clicking the “junk” button that flags the message as spam with your service provider.

“Which, unbeknownst to a lot of people, actually causes that e-mail then to be delivered to a spam folder — not only to their own, but to others’ as well who are signed up.”

For marketers, Sather suggests making it easier to get off a mailing list, and sending quality content that subscribers want to read.

For the rest of us, check your spam folder and use your mail program’s tools to “whitelist” the domains you want to make it through to your inbox.

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