An Email Marketer's Field Guide to Orange

350px_orange_logo_svgWith about 43% market share, Orange is the most widely used broadband provider in France. Orange’s reach extends internationally, as close to 44% of their customers are located outside of France in Belgium (they own Mobistar), Spain, the UK, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Moldova, Africa, and the Middle East. In France, Orange has 13 million active email accounts.

Following are some more details about Orange that might be helpful to senders.

Orange’s anti-spam approach includes filtering on both the reputation of the sender and the content of the mail. Orange uses Vade Retro to help reduce unwanted mail. If you have an Orange account and notice that your mail is going to the spam folder, you can confirm whether this is caused by the Vade Retro filter by looking in the header. Check the status of the header for ‘X-me-spamlevel’ (X-me indicates Orange, other MBPs have their own X prefixes). The “spamlevel” can be “not spam,” “low,” “medium,” or “high.” Orange also has their own proprietary spam filter that could also cause your mail to be delivered to the spam folder. According to the Postmaster, “If you want to know why your mail is going to the spam folder you can contact [email protected] with a list of your IPs and domain(s) and we will look into your case.”

Prioritized delivery
Orange uses the Return Path Certified whitelist. To quote our recent press release regarding our partnership with Orange, “In addition to protecting its subscribers against abusive emails from marketers, spam, fraud, or any other activity that could negatively affect the quality of email environments, the partnership is designed to foster healthy interactions between users and brands or institutions, a presumption that called for renewed precision in the operator’s existing selection and filtering policy.”

Feedback loops
Orange has a FBL operated by Signal Spam. Although we refer to this as an “Orange FBL,” there are no actual ARF messages being shared. Orange provides Signal Spam with a daily, aggregate complaint count per IP in CSV file format. This is then made available to Signal Spam members per download via an URL query.

Managing complaints
Because Orange France takes the number of spam complaints generated as the main indicator to react on, it is extremely important to keep complaints to a minimum.

  • Ensure all addresses signed up and want to receive the mail.
  • Confirm the opt-in of any Orange France sign-ups.
  • Remove inactive Orange France recipients from your list.
  • Sign up for the above mentioned Signal Spam FBL.

List acquisition and sign-up
I asked the Orange postmaster what he would like senders to know about list acquisition and sign-up. He confirmed that in France, senders should always use confirmed opt-in. Orange considers the sender responsible for ensuring that end-users really want to receive their mails. Senders should never use auto opt-in. Like many other mailbox providers, Orange considers transactional mails as purely functional. They shouldn’t contain advertisements for other products or services unrelated to the customer’s purchase.

The Postmaster says that reminders about incomplete registrations should not be sent more than once.

Orange recommends providing list-unsubscribed headers for all emails. The specified URL should either use the mailto: scheme or be an HTTP URL that unsubscribes the user with a single click without any further confirmations required.

Orange considers engagement a good indicator of the relevance of a sender’s mails they consider this when making decisions to block or throttle.

Connection and throughput
It’s recommend that a sender open no more than three simultaneous connections, but Return Path Certified senders can open 10. They are flexible on throughput but use your discretion and be reasonable; otherwise you could be throttled.

Block removal
Orange says, “When a legitimate sender sends messages that are rejected, the sender will be notified of the rejection and can then contact [email protected] to report a false positive.” Orange uses Spamhaus Zen which includes the Spamhaus SBL, SBLCSS, XBL, and PBL blocklists. They also use Cloudmark CSI and can (and do) manually block mails if the Abuse Desk decides it’s spam or phishing.

Since Orange also uses the Return Path Certified whitelist, checking your global reputation score via the Return Path’s is a good idea.

Sending infrastructure requirements
Orange uses SPF and they expect senders to comply with the RFC standards that are relevant to email.

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