In life, most things are far more complex than they appear at first glance.  Have you ever thought about what goes into making your shower water turn on in the morning?  What makes your microwave heat your food?  What makes your cell phone work?  What gets your piece of mail delivered to a totally different continent?  What gets your email delivered to any place in the world almost instantaneously?  Well, this post isn’t here to answer your questions about showers and microwaves, but maybe it will help answer some questions about email delivery and how it works.

#1) When emails get blocked by ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) can it be a result of content?

Yes, content can affect email blockage.  For instance, anything you put in your email that resembles spam can cause your email to be blocked.  Even if you only have an ad with links in it can cause you to be blocked.  Certain topics and words are generally associated with spammers and are good to avoid (making money, mortgage refinance, medication).  Disguising these words and others like them will only make you appear that much more of a spammer.

#2) Feedback loops—what are they and are they useful?

Feedback loops are basically just that—feedback from users.  Yahoo’s feedback loop, for example, has a spam button that will send a report when clicked by a user.  If you are getting lots of these, then you should probably take a look at what issues are causing complaints and why you are being associated with spam.

#3) What does my email reputation consist of?

Several things, actually.

  • First would be your sending infrastructure.  Being compliant and having the latest standards in place is key.  Authentication also plays a vital role (spf records, domain keys, etc).
  • Don’t buy email lists and start sending to people who haven’t signed up for your campaigns.  This will definitely add to your complaints and will hurt your reputation.  These spam complaints will damage your reputation.  Be worthy of the trust of your recipients.
  • The longer you send from the same IP address, the more your reputation will grow.  Trust is built up over time, so if you are a new sender, use best practices in your campaigns—it will help build that trust.
  • Consistency in volume is important.  Don’t send every other day, but you will have to send more than twice a year to have a good email reputation.

#4) Honeypot?  What is that?

A spam trap that is specially placed by blacklist makers and spam watchdogs.  What they do is create email addresses and place them strategically in places that only email harvesters would ever think to look.  This harvester adds them to his email lists and is subsequently caught in the act.  The main point is, don’t buy email lists.  It will get you on a blacklist faster than anything.

About James Trumbly:
Director of Business Development for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. James enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling in his free time. Follow him on twitter @eConnectEmail