The Email Delivery Guru
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The latest on email marketing delivery best
practices & trends from our resident guru,
Al Iverson, Director Deliverability.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
client recently asked, "Are there any deliverability issues with
using images hosted on third party CDN whose domain does not match
the domain of the sender?"
If you're not aware, CDN means Content Delivery Network. A CDN is means of making your web pages and/or web applications load faster, by caching content on multiple servers, then requests for that content can be fulfilled by the nearest or most responsive available server. I might be oversimplifying it a bit, but in my personal experience with various CDNs, that's how they tend to work. Akamai might have been the first one-- they...
Thursday, May 2, 2013
agency client of ours dropped the team a note today, explaining
that when they reached out to Hotmail regarding a client's blocking
issues, Hotmail's response included a recommendation that the
sender enroll in the JRMP program. What is that, the client asked?
Are we enrolled?
JMRP stands for "Junk Mail Reporting Program" and this is just the name Microsoft uses for their feedback loop mechanism. An ISP feedback loop, if you weren't already aware, is the mechanism by which an email is reported back to the sender (or the sender's email service provider) when an ISP user clicks the...
Monday, April 1, 2013
Spamhaus has recently been under a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) cyber attack, covered breathlessly by many media organizations including the NY Times. A few folks have asked what this might mean for delivery rates to ISPs, or if there would be any sort of impact to ET clients.
The short answer is no, there's really no impact here for us, our clients, or mailbox providers. I am told that Spamhaus' ability to share their blacklist data with ISPs was not impeded, thus spam filtering decisions at ISPs went on to be handled like they would on any given day, without any delays or issues noted...Read More »
Thursday, March 28, 2013
I am often asked how one can safely grow your subscriber list, and that can be a very complicated question. I don't always have the best answer, because a lot of my job focuses on what NOT to do versus what SHOULD you do. So, any time there's a good resource out there with guidance on what you should be doing to help grow your list, I'm eager to share it with our own client base. Enjoy!Read More »
Friday, March 22, 2013
Maybe, maybe not. Return Path has posted their speculation on where they think things are heading, timeline-wise. It's worth checking out. But, do keep in mind that it's basically just a best guess right now.
Of course, even if it is delayed, now is still a good time to ensure that your email marketing efforts are in compliance with the new law. Check out ExactTarget's CASL whitepaper for more details.Read More »
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I ran across this article yesterday, sharing an example of how one marketer engages with his readers to try to figure out if they want to truly continue receiving his messages.
It’s interesting, but I think that it misses the mark.
The goal, from a deliverability perspective, is to drive engagement. To get subscribers to interact (engage) with your email messages. If you can get a subscriber to actually respond, why would you drive that response toward something negative, like an unsubscribe request? Why wouldn’t you drive that response toward purchasing something, or clicking through to your...Read More »
Friday, March 1, 2013
Roberts of Return Path explains that Gmail "does not have a
traditional feedback loop available to senders." Unlike Yahoo,
Hotmail, and various other ISPs, Gmail has not implemented that
automated mechanism that allows us to help you track and
unsubscribe people who tell their ISP that your mail should be
That's is indeed a bummer, but don't despair. Joanna goes on to explain that as long as you're authenticating your mail with SPF or DKIM, have a good sending reputation, and have implemented the list-unsubscribe email header functionality, Gmail will display an...
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
As mentioned elsewhere, US-based internet service provider Earthlink is now allowing email services providers back into their email feedback loop (FBL), something that hasn't been available to ESPs or their clients for many years now. We've now submitted all of our ranges and Earthlink has confirmed their addition to their feedback loop.
For ExactTarget clients, this means that now when an Earthlink user reports your mail as spam, that report will be sent back to us, allowing us to log it for compliance and tracking purposes, and ensure that the recipient will be unsubscribed.
Read More »
Thursday, February 14, 2013
February 18-22, I'll be in San Francisco to attend the 27th General
Meeting of the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG). On
Tuesday, I'm moderating a session where we'll discuss the pros and
cons of email address validation. On the panel we'll have two
different email address validation service providers, as well as a
number of ISP/anti-abuse-focused folks. It should be a good
opportunity to learn about how this kind of process works in
general, examine the methodology risks, and look for the potential
value to ESPs and their clients.
I asked for the opportunity to bring this session...
Thursday, February 7, 2013
You may remember my recent post wherein I mentioned that a client had a rather unique problem with Gmail delivery; their ability to get ExactTarget-served mail to the inbox ultimately seemed to be negatively impacted by mail being sent by them OUTSIDE of ExactTarget. In response, a reader asked, "How does one ensure that 3rd party affiliates are not pulling you down? Would a redirect protect the parent domain name?"
I'm not entirely sure that you can work with third party affiliates and ensure that their activities referencing your brand and domain won't have any impact on your core mailing...Read More »
Thursday, January 31, 2013
often ask what we can do to help make the “warming up” process
easier. When you come to a new ESP, you’re most typically placed on
a dedicated IP address (or set of them), and it’s up to you, the
sender, to build up a good reputation by sending slow and steady to
your best subscribers over the first few weeks. This isn’t always
an easy process, even with various tips, tricks, and MTA settings
available to smooth things over.
Sometimes clients ask if we can just give them “pre-warmed up” IP addresses. We can’t do that, because to facilitate something like this would require that we...
Friday, January 25, 2013
There's really no "getting whitelisted by the ISPs" nowadays. Yahoo and AOL technically still offer whitelists, but you have to already be sending mail from a given IP address, and you already have to have a good reputation, and you really don't necessarily have to actually submit your sending IP address unless you're one of those edge cases right near the line and perhaps intermittently having delivery issues.
Neither ISP will proactively whitelist you to prevent delivery issues. And both ISPs will kick you out of the whitelist, without telling you, if your mail generates too many complaints...Read More »
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Gmail can be a tough nut to crack. They’re very much
focused on placing a sender’s mail in the inbox only if they feel
it is truly wanted and desired. They seem to rely very heavily on
engagement. If your open rates and click rates are lower than
average, your mail is much more likely to go to the spam folder at
They might even be better about determining what’s wanted than I am or you are. I’ve seen two different senders with Gmail issues in the past year where their messages were basically just repeated, ongoing, very direct attempts to convert a free subscriber into a paying customer....
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Spamhaus issues are on the rise.
We believe that Spamhaus has recently taken a greater interest in watching for list hygiene issues from known brands, particularly retailers. Activity has particularly ramped up in the third and fourth quarters of 2012, and we suspect this to continue into 2013.
Spamhaus wasn’t ignoring retailers previously, but the volume of issues, as reported by multiple ESPs and ESP clients, is definitely higher of late. It is our understanding Spamhaus recently brought live a bunch of new spam trap addresses that they didn't previously utilize when monitoring for known...
Thursday, December 27, 2012
During the holiday season, most retailers want to
maximize their email revenue. This time of year it's very tempting
for senders to dig deep into their databases. Hey, let's send an
email to everybody from ten years ago. Hey, let's reactivate those
bounced addresses - maybe some of them will deliver now. More email
means more money, right?
But, it's never quite that simple. It actually seems to lead to deliverability problems just about every time somebody digs up and mails to that old list.
It all starts on Black Friday. Or "Blacklist Friday," as a representative for another ESP put it. (What...
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
As announced on the Yahoo! blog, Yahoo! is
rolling out a new, streamlined interface for Yahoo! Mail over the
coming days. I've actually been switching back and forth between
the new UI and the old UI, and the only obvious outward change to
me as a user is that the colors of the user interace have changed.
I'm sure they've changed stuff behind the scenes, though. One thing
I've noticed is that hitting "back" after reading a message no
longer dumps you out of Yahoo! Mail. It now takes you back to the
folder you were looking at, as you would expect.
Coworkers weighed in with their thoughts as...
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Here's something that's been challenging lately: Various system
issues at AOL.
Occasionally AOL will block a bunch of mail with an error message saying something like "554 mtain-xxx.r1000.mx.aol.com ESMTP not accepting connections." That message isn't very insightful, and it hasn't always been easy to translate this to an actual, understandable reason for those messages to be rejected.
From talking to AOL and from what we've observed, it sounds like the bounce message AOL intends to return (most of the time) is something akin to "blocked for spam," but even then, there are different levels of...
Thursday, November 15, 2012
On October 31, GigaOm passed along data from ComScore showing that Gmail has surpassed Hotmail (and Yahoo) in total number of unique visitors to their respective email providers worldwide. When measured as a percentage of users found in a typical B2C (consumer) list for a US-focused client, our data suggests that Yahoo! Mail still represents the largest single segment of subscribers.
But Gmail is growing, and it’s growing fast. Gmail may not be
the number one mailbox provider in the US as of yet, but they’re
likely to reach that milestone at some point in the near
What does this mean...
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
in November, we will modify our Report Card process to be based on
complaint and bounce data fed back to us by Hotmail. To date, we’ve
always used AOL data for this purpose, but it feels like the right
time to make the change.
Why make this change? Hotmail has become more widely represented in a typical email list. At the same time, Hotmail subscribers are more likely to be found in the subscriber database of a non-US sender than AOL subscribers. Also, in cases of smaller sends, a lack of AOL subscriber data might make it hard to get an accurate sampling of subscribers on which to...
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
ReturnPath's George Bilbrey
confirmed for us this month something we already suspected --
that Yahoo has upped its reliance on "engagement" as a spam
Engagement, defined as denoting who is interacting with the email messages you send, is a data point that webmail providers like Yahoo and Gmail are able to measure. They run the user interface -- they track all the button clicks and know which email messages you open, view, click on, or delete unread. This data is compiled by these email-receiving sites and they use it to build an "engagement score" of you as a sender. Building...