Ask the Experts: Complaints Q & A

We had a lot of great questions about complaints from our last Ask the Experts webinar and unfortunately not enough time to answer them all!  We wanted to make sure we got to all of them and so here are the ones that we missed!

Can you explain how to set up feedback loops and is there a link for the universal feedback loop?
Enrolling in feedback loops (FBLs) is an important deliverability best practice, allowing you the opportunity to remove or suppress subscribers from your list who no longer wish to receive your email. This helps you manage spam complaint rates, which is an important reputation metric that mailbox providers use to decide whether they will deliver your email to the inbox, spam folder or if they will block your email.

Save time setting up and managing Return Path hosted complaint feedback loops by using our Universal Feedback Loop (UFBL). Return Path’s UFBL is a single feedback loop management tool to simplify the configuration process and coordinate subscriptions in one location. Here is also a list of all available feedback loops available and how to sign up for them.

Please clarify, can we or can’t we, identify a specific complainer?
You can identify specific complainers when you have set up feedback loops. When you set up feedback loops you will receive an ARF (Abuse Reporting Format) message, which will include a subscriber ID, which will identify the subscriber and then you can then suppress that subscriber in your list.  Here is information on how a subscriber ID is needed for complaint processing.

Otherwise you cannot identify specific complainers, but will want to monitor campaigns for increases in complaints and then analyze if there was a new data source where the expectation of email content wasn’t set well or an old data source suddenly started receiving mail who had previously been suppressed –  a common scenario during the holiday season. Other tips for Troubleshooting high complaint rates can be found here.

We received two questions which point to the value of a preference center during the account creation and onboarding process:

  1. Do you suggest segmenting the spam opt-out by specific content areas?  
  2. What can we do,  if the first email people receive from us,  after they have signed up, generates the highest rate of complaints?

If you have one email that is trying to serve many different audiences and their needs, the more likely you are going to see complaints. A good preference center, coupled with a good welcome series, allows your email subscribers to have a degree of control in the type of content and the frequency of content that they receive from you.  If you are a media company for example, one email that covers many different topics, be it politics, weather, sports, entertainment, may overwhelm a user who only is interested in entertainment news and prompt them to “complain” about the email. Conversely, if a subscriber complains specifically on an entertainment email, you only need to opt them out of that email stream. Be sure to check out for our blogs, whitepapers and case studies on deliverability for more information on good preference centers and welcome series.

minute read

Popular stories



BriteVerify email verification ensures that an email address actually exists in real-time


The #1 global data quality tool used by thousands of Salesforce admins


Insights and deliverability guidance from the only all-in-one email marketing solution

GridBuddy Cloud

Transform how you interact with your data through the versatility of grids.

Return Path

World-class deliverability applications to optimize email marketing programs

Trust Assessments

A revolutionary new solution for assessing Salesforce data quality


Validity for Email

Increase inbox placement and maximize subscriber reach with clean and actionable data

Validity for Data Management

Simplify data management with solutions that improve data quality and increase CRM adoption

Validity for Sales Productivity

Give your sales team back hours per day with tools designed to increase productivity and mitigate pipeline risks in real-time