As an email user, you probably noticed the increase in the amount of SPAM you receive.

As an email marketer, you do not want your messages to be perceived as part of the spam evolution.  ISP’s recognize that SPAM is an ever-growing issue. Therefore, most ISPs in response, have tightened their email systems to block spammy emails from reaching their customers’ mailboxes.  

However, the numbers are against us all.

Not only do ISP’s find it impossible to block 100% of incoming SPAM to their mail servers, but they also find it’s virtually impossible to block as much as 50% of Spam from reaching their customers’ inbox.  And what’s worse for email marketers; There are many false positives read by the ISP’s spam filters, which block legitimate emails too.

The email system as we all know it has no real delivery protocol – There is no guarantee that an email sent will be delivered to the intended inbox.  We believe that an email was delivered to the proper recipient when it’s sent unless we receive an “undeliverable” bounce back message.  However, in the real world when a big ISP blocks an email from being delivered they may not return an “undeliverable” message to the sender.  They aren’t under any obligation to do so,  besides,  it may be a matter of economics.

Putting economics aside sometimes you find, as an email marketer or discussion list member, you just can’t send messages to a certain domain, while you can send messages to everyone else.  There’re actually technical nuances that may prevent your email from sending to a certain domain (email address).

The issues can include:

  • Blocked IP Address (the domain is on a SPAM list)
  • Missing SPF record
  • Missing DNS records
  • Misconfigured DNS
  • The ISP filtered your email as SPAM, its MIA.

And as stated not all ISPs send back an “undeliverable” bounce back message. SPAM filtering processes for big ISPs, such as Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo and so forth, are set up to handle traffic created by billions of email messages.  To cut down on bandwidth and annoyance they try to set up strict spam filtering rules, which includes filtering out good emails too, so what’s an email marketer to do?

  • Ask your ESP (Email Service Provider) for a private IP address.  Most likely you are hosted on a shared IP address, which increases your chance of being blacklisted if someone on that IP is earmarked as a spammer.
  • Does your ESP have reverse DNS for their MX records?  I can’t imagine an ESP without this, but stuff happens.  This is actually required by RFC 1912, Common DNS Operational and Configuration Errors.
  • Is your SPF record correct?  https://support.dnsimple.com/articles/spf-record/

And then there are the more common email delivery issues.

  • Unknown User – the account may be closed, or the name may be misspelled
  • Unknown Host – the hostname (domain) is not correct or doesn’t’ exist.
  • Delay in delivery – the mail server may be down or it may be a setting in your email program,
  • Blocked IP Address – You’re on a Blacklist

There are always Best Practices for all situations. Keep email out of the spam folder and through the spam firewall.

Need help with your email list?  Tell us your issue below,  and we will find you a solution.

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