Email Sender and Domain Reputation

Send It: How Reputation Affects Email Deliverability

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Pressing the send button can send a sense of panic into the mind of an email marketer. Did I check all my copy? Do all my links work? Was that the right segment? How will it perform?  

Recently, we talked about what email deliverability is and why it’s important. In the coming weeks, we are going to continue to review all the aspects of deliverability that affect your email campaignsIt’s our job here at Return Path from Validity to curb that panicgiving you the confidence tSend It 

While reaching the inbox to engage subscribers is a main goal of any email program, getting into the inbox isn’t so simple. There are many challenges that can block you from accessing to your subscribers, the biggest of which is your reputation as a sender. 

What is sender reputation?
Sender reputation is a calculation of all previous actions taken by a sending IP address, both good and bad. An incoming sender’s reputation allows mailbox providers to access who is trying to reach their inboxes and judge whether or not to deliver the incoming mail to the inbox or the spam folder.  

What contributes to your reputation?
There are hundreds of signals that factor into your reputation. Some can help boost your standing, while others harm your ability to reach the inbox. Below are some of the top elements mailbox providers are evaluating and you need to be paying attention to before they damage your deliverability.  

Unknown users: An unknown user is generated when a sender deploys mail to a recipient that never existed, is no longer active by choice, or was abandoned by the end user. Mailbox providers send back a bounce code to senders to inform them that these addresses are no longer active and should be removed from a sending list. 

Spam traps: There are two types of spam traps. Pristine traps are email addresses created for the sole purpose of catching spammers. These addresses were never owned by a real person and are often found as embedded links hidden in the background of websites. Recycled traps are email addresses that were once active addresses but have since been abandoned and are no longer in use. After spending time as unknown users, mailbox providers convert these discarded addresses into spam traps to catch senders who continue to send to unengaged senders. The purpose of a spam trap is to identify senders with “spammy” behavior. Sending to spam traps will drastically reduce your deliverability.  

Complaints: Complaints are end user spam complaints that are calculated against the amount of mail you have sent for the past seven days. A complaint could be produced when an end user clicks on the “spam” or “junk” button within their inbox.  

Disengaged Subscribers: Having a large portion of subscribers that don’t open or interact with your email consistently tells mailbox providers their users are not interested in your content and are unlikely to miss it. To provide a better experience for their users, mailbox providers incorporate prior subscriber engagement into their filtering decisions.  

Blacklists: Backlisting refers to a list of IP addresses that spam filtering companies, mailbox providers, or anti-spam organizations report as “known” sources of spam. Frequent spam traps hits or complaints might prompt a blacklist organization to add your IP to a blacklist. When evaluating an incoming sender, mailbox providers will check these lists to see if the IP address appears. If it does, they may decide deliver the blacklisted senders mail to the spam folder.