The question I have may be more of principle than anything else, but here's my dilemma.
I manage an email system for a small company (about 20 email users). We own a plain-letter .com domain name through Network Solutions. Our email service is hosted by Google Apps.
Recently (Feb. 2011) we've been having customers report that they aren't getting our emails. Upon further investigation it seems that the failed emails are all to a common (well known) domain. We have not received any bounce messages for the emails. We've also contacted a few of the intended recipients, who have reported that the messages are not in their spam box; they simply did not receive anything. In these cases we re-sent the same email to an alternate address on another domain, which was successful received.
One customer contacted their email provider about the issue. The provider recommended that we submit a form to be white-listed by their domain.
Here's where my problem begins. I feel like this is heading down a slippery slope. Doesn't this undermine the very principle of email? If this is the appropriate action to take in these situations where will it end? In theory (following this model) it could be argued that eventually one will first need to "whitelist" (or more appropriately termed "authenticate") themselves with an email host before actually sending any messages. More to this point, what keeps the "bad" spammers from doing the same thing...? We've just gone full circle.
I know avoiding anti-spam measures is a big cat-and-mouse game, but I think this is the wrong way of "patching" the problem. Email standards say that messages should not just disappear silently. I have a problem supporting a model that says "you must do < this > to make sure your emails aren't ignored".
I have a notion to call the provider and voice my complaint, although I have a feeling it will probably fall on deaf ears. Am I missing something here? Is this an acceptable approach to email spam problems? What should I do?