Inbox Reach Controlled by Reputation – Not Content – 83 Percent of the Time

Return Path launches Sender Score Resender, a new tool enabling marketers to test whether delivery failure happens because of content or reputation

New York (October 16, 2006) – When commercial email does not get delivered to the inbox, the sender’s reputation can be blamed 77 percent of the time, and the reputation of domains included in the email six percent of the time, a Return Path study released shows. Return Path, the email performance company, conducted this study with its newly-launched tool, Sender Score Resender, which enables clients to automatically test delivery failure root-causes by resending the same message to test accounts via clean IP addresses (newer IP addresses without negative or positive reputation data associated with them).

“Most marketers believe that they can tweak content and see deliverability rates increase, that by taking out the words ‘free’ or ’10 percent off,’ their emails will suddenly make it into the inbox,” says George Bilbrey, vice president and general manager of Return Path’s Delivery Assurance division. “We have long held that a marketer’s reputation with receivers is the reason for poor results, and now with Resender we can easily prove it.”

Resender allows Return Path clients to send email messages that showed poor inbox delivery rates a second time via a clean IP address to a series of test email accounts at most major global ISPs. If the messages are delivered to the inbox on this second send, it shows that the originating IP’s reputation, not message content, was the source of the delivery problem. Coupled with data in Sender Score Reputation Monitor, this provides marketers with enough data to start solving reputation-based delivery problems.

In a recent study of 550 email messages with poor delivery rates, Return Path saw that 77.3 percent of problems were directly due to the sender’s reputation. “Notably, with six of the primary ISPs, the rates of reputation filtering were even higher at 97 to 100 percent,” Bilbrey says.

At ISPs where reputation showed to be less important in email blocking and filtering decisions, a common factor was the use of Brightmail. Brightmail filters in part on the reputation of the content, as determined by spam traps and complaints previously attributed to the content being mailed.

Receivers use factors such as email volume, email infrastructure (including authentication), unknown user rates, complaint rates, spam trap hits and listings on public blacklists and whitelists when assessing a sender’s reputation. Senders can find out their email reputation through Return Path’s Sender Score Reputation Monitor, the only comprehensive reputation reporting system available today.

Sender Score Resender will be available to Sender Score clients next month. Sender Score is the most comprehensive deliverability management platform, offering delivery monitoring, problem resolution, accreditation systems and reputation management.

Tami M. Forman
Return Path
212-905-5500 ext 205
[email protected]

Matthew W. Caldecutt / Rich Gallagher
Trylon SMR
[email protected]

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About Return Path
Founded in 1999, Return Path is an e-mail performance management company dedicated to improving the reach, delivery performance and overall success of permission-based e-mail programs. More than 1,500 companies use Return Path’s services to generate superior results from their e-mail programs, taking advantage of Return Path’s pioneering innovation in deliverability, ECOA, list hygiene, double-opt-in list acquisition, online market research and best practices strategy. Return Path’s Sender Score is the industry’s original and premier e-mail deliverability solution, including Sender Score Certified for e-mail accreditation and Sender Score Reputation Monitor, the most comprehensive reputation management system. For more information, please visit

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