Getting Email Delivered - the ISIPP SuretyMail Blog

 

Articles for May, 2016

Announcing SuretyMail Lite! All of the Benefits of SuretyMail without the IP Addresses!

ISIPP SuretyMail is very pleased to announce the offering of a brand new service: SuretyMail Lite! For years we have had businesses asking for this service – a service where we help businesses to get to the inbox, and to assist with their delivery issues – when they don’t have their own dedicated IP addresses.

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How to Sign Up for the New Yahoo Feedback Loop Just Released to the Public

At long last it is possible to sign up for a Yahoo Feedback Loop (FBL)! And we encourage you to do so!

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ISPs Do Not Have to Accept Your Email Even If It Isn’t Spam

We’ve touched on this briefly before, but I think that it’s time to make it crystal clear: ISPs do not have to accept and deliver email – any email – your email – even if it isn’t spam.

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How Vacation Reply Messages Can Hurt Your Deliverability

Did you know that setting up an automated “I’m out of the office” vacation auto responder message can hurt your email deliverability? In fact, there are a few different ways that those automatic vacation reply messages can hurt your email delivery, and for that reason, we advise you not to use them at all or, if you must, to use them very carefully.

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New York Confirms Affiliate Sales Tax for Sales Made Through New York-Based Affiliates

A New York court yesterday affirmed that New York can charge sales tax on sales made through affiliates who are based in New York state. Known as “The Amazon Tax”, and indeed the primary plaintiff in the case was Amazon, the rule says that so long as the affiliate is located in New York, and the company for whom the sales are generated has sales of at least $10,000 attributable to affiliates in New York, then the company must pay sales tax to the state of New York.

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Why You Shouldn’t Include Attachments in Email without Asking First

Today I want to talk about a practice that can really get your email in trouble: including attachments in email without first communicating to the recipient that you will be doing so.

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Why People Who Pay to Receive Your Mailings Still Report Them as Spam

We have a customer who sends email out on behalf of a very large, very well known institution in the financial investment world. Some of these mailings lists are paid mailing lists. By which I mean that the users paid to receive these emails. And yet, they still report it as spam. Why would they do this? Here’s why.

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Loyal Subscriber Dropped for Failing to View Images

We’ve talked before about things that can artificially supress open rates, and the dangers inherent in not being aware of the issues. This was brought home today by a colleague, who writes about an experience they had with being dropped from a mailing list that they read regularly because they read in “no images” mode, causing the sender to assume that they weren’t reading their mailings.

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Inserting Unique Headers in Your Email to Help Your Email Deliverability

Back when I co-founded Habeas, we came up with the at-that-time novel idea to have our accredited senders insert special headers in their outbound email. Those headers were a signal to the receiving email servers that our senders had been accredited and the email was promised to be “not spam.”

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Get Our Free Email Deliverability Toolbar for Instant Help!

We’ve very excited to announce our free (yes, free) email deliverability toolbar for both Firefox and Internet Explorer! With this toolbar you can instantly access many of our free email deliverability assistance resource from anywhere on the Internet! Do an IP address lookup, check reverse DNS (rDNS), check various blacklists, and more!

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When a Prospect or Customer Sends You Email – Answer It!

A fascinating, and a bit shocking, study was released today, rating how well online commerce sites do when it comes to responding to prospect and customer email queries. Not very, it turns out.

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Three Things You Can Do for Free to Boost Your Deliverability

Increasing email deliverability is both an art and a science, and to really get results, you need to have some expertise in both. And of course, that’s one of the reasons that many companies pay someone to do it for them – be it an in-house email deliverability expert, an outside company such as ours, or a combination of both.

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You Don’t Want to Be on a Blacklist’s Radar

We recently had one of our email accreditation customers ask us whether we would contact all of the blacklists listed at on a particular site on their behalf, because the site listed their IP address’ reputation with these blacklists as “neutral”.

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What Do You Do When Someone On Your Mailing List Gets a New Email Address?

Often the way that you find out that a user’s email address is no longer valid is that you get a bounce back (“user not found”). But sometimes a user will switch email addresses, and they will actually try to notify you. What do you do then?

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Do Not Use NoReply or DontReply as Your “From:” Return Address in Email

We’ve talked previously about why all the email addresses you send from (i.e. your email’s “return address”) should really exist. It’s because if they don’t, you’re email is going to get junk foldered, both due to spam complaints, and because ISPs actually test whether your from address exists. But there are some email addresses – used as “From:” addresses – that even if you create them on your system – even if they really do exist – you should just never use.

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Not All Permission Pass Systems are the Same – or Safe!

We recently had a customer contact us to ask us whether a particular vendor’s Permission Pass system was legitimate, because to them it seemed to cross the line. Smart customer! Because, in fact, this particular vendor (no, I’m not going to name them) is not only conducting Permission Pass in the completely wrong way – but in a way that would be sure to have gotten our customer in hot water with the ISPs and spam filters!

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How to Get Your Email Into the Inbox the First Time, Every Time

What if I told you that there is a way that you can get your email into the inbox 100% of the time? And what if I told you that it was guaranteed?

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What Email Programs Are Your Readers Using? The Answer May Surprise You!

We’ve talked in the past about how important it is to be sure that your email renders well in many different email clients and devices, and also generally to be sure that your email is easy to read on mobile devices. But have you ever wondered what the majority of your users are using to read their email?

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News Flash: Feedback Loop Reports Save Your Email, Boost Response Rates, Save Lives

We have officially rolled out our Feedback Loop Reports service today, with its own spiffy section on our website, and we couldn’t be prouder.

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Having a Sense of Entitlement Will Not Help Your Email Get Delivered

Every so often we run into a sender who has a sense of entitlement – or even righteous indignation – about how an ISP should, must – even has to – accept their email. Whether because it’s “requested” or opt-in or because it “complies with CAN-SPAM”, the sender gets all in our face about how a given ISP has a responsiblity and duty to accept their email. Sometimes they even rant that it’s required by {CAN-SPAM| tort law | the 1st Amendment | insert your favourite rant here}. Except, that’s completely wrong.

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The Bottom Line: Spam Complaints = Getting Junkfoldered and Blocked

We regularly get questions and comments, both in the course of our business day, and in casual conversation, which make clear that there is something that people just aren’t getting – so here it is, put as plainly and clearly as we can put it: If you get too many spam complaints, your email is going to be junkfoldered.

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Disclaimer Language Can Kill Your Email

Disclaimers. Whether in email, print marketing, or contracts, who reads them? I’ll tell you who reads them: spam filters. How often do you think a user reads a message that starts with “You have received this message because you have opted in” or “You received this message due to your subscription” and thinks “Oh! That’s right, I did ask for this, so I won’t mark it as spam?” Now, how often do you think that a spam filter (or, indeed, a user) sees that and thinks “This must be spam”?

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Looks Really Do Matter – If You’re Email

We’ve talked more than once here about how not just your content, but the formatting of your content, can make a big difference to your email deliverability. It’s something about which I can not put too fine a point, as some people just don’t get it – others don’t believe it – and yet others feel that it shouldn’t matter, gosh darnit, especially if their list building practices are kosher and their users really want their email. But it does matter.

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3 Reasons that Personalizing Subjects Lines Can Kill Your Email Deliverability

Most mailing software these days will allow you to personalize your mailings, and, not surprisingly, most commercial emailers take advantage of this, personalizing their mailings in all sorts of ways. Using the recipient’s actual name when addressing them seems like it should be a really good idea. But it isn’t always the best idea. In fact, here are 3 reasons that personalizing your subject lines, in particular, can get you in trouble with spam filters and users, and kill your email deliverabilty.

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Things that can Artificially Suppress Open Rates

We’re always thinking about ways that we can boost our customers’ deliverability and email reptutation to previously unheard of heights. And, as we’ve mentioned before, open rates are becoming increasingly important. That is because ISPs look at your open rates to see if people are really interested in receiving and reading your email. So I got to thinking about things that can artificially suppress your open rates.

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Why You Should Care More About Email Reputation than Whitelisting

Many of our customers come to us concerned about one thing above all else: whitelisting. And, you can find email service providers who tout right on their front page “We are whitelisted with many major ISPs.” Indeed, getting whitelisted used to be the holy grail of email delivery. Did you catch that? Used to be.

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Public Release of Feedback Loop Reports

Some of you know that we have been quietly working on our Feed back Loop Reports service for a while now. Today, we are making it public! And not only that, but for a limited time, you can get our Feed back Loop Reports at a special price!

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Drip Email – Drop the Drip If You Don’t Have Full Permission

You may not have heard of drip email marketing, or email drip marketing, but I can assure you that you know what it is. You have either sent it, or received it, or in some other way come into contact with it. Wikipedia – not always the most reliable source, but in this case accurate – describes drip email this way: “Email drip marketing is a form of e-mail marketing where a company sends (“drips”) email messages to subscribers on a scheduled basis established using e-mail marketing software.”

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How to Check How Your Email Looks on Mobile Devices

Last week we talked about how if your email is not “mobile friendly”, that is, if it doesn’t render well on mobile devices, your email will not bring you the results for which you are hoping. And because once someone reads your email on their mobile device, they aren’t as likely to read it on their computer, this is very important. Remember that open and click-through rates can directly affect your deliverability.

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Inviting Users to Share Your Email with Their Social Networks

SilverPop has just announced their new “Share to Social” service, and it’s a pretty interesting idea. Now, while tell-a-friend systems tend to invite users to spam their friends, encouraging a user to post your email on their own social networking profile page is very different. Of course, you don’t need to use a special system to do that

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Is Your Email Mobile Friendly?

I’m sure that you know that more and more people are reading email on the go (I, for example, read a large percentage of my email on my Sidekick, many others read email on their Blackberrys). In fact last year Marketing Sherpa determined that 64% of key decision makers are reading email on their mobile devices. Reading your email on their mobile devices. Have you ever stopped to think about what that means in terms of your email deliverability?

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Can People Trust Your Email?

The results of two studies which looked at whether people are less inclined to be honest in email are out, and the answer is a big “yes”. Based on these studies, at least, people tend to lie a lot in email. In fact, the two studies, published jointly as a paper entitled “Being Honest Online: The Finer Points of Lying in Online Ultimatum Bargaining”, found that in their tests, subjects were likely to lie as much as 92% of the time!

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Why ISPs Don’t Take Calls from Email Senders

We recently had a customer muse to us “I think there’s got to be a phone number at the ISP that we could call, so we can ask them to explain the reason we are being sent to the junk folder.” As most of you who read this probably know, well, there isn’t such a phone number. But why not?

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Wow! I Hit the Trifecta of Online Media Exposure Today!

I don’t often use this venue to talk myself up – and in fact, I’m not going to talk myself up! BUT, three – count them, THREE – online outlets all featured me in the past 12 hours! I was featured in HARO (Help a Reporter Out), Meet the Innovators, and Inspire Me Today!

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AmericaRX’s Dirty Little Spamming Problem

While I’m off at the last of the three conferences in four weeks (actually I’m running the Boulder Business Retreat), I thought I’d share this little example of what not to do with your email marketing. I should be back more regularly next week; I hope you’ve missed me as much as I’ve missed you! Today’s shining example of a company that just doesn’t get it is AmericaRX.com.

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Announcing The Email Sending Secrets Insiders Circle

This has been a long time coming.

We’ve been asked and asked to do this, and so now we finally are.

The Email Sending Secrets Insiders Circle.

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Delivery Killing Word of the Day: Debt

Here’s a word that is guaranteed to kill your email deliverability rate: debt. There is so much spam out there talking about debt, that the spam filters are eating just about anything featuring the word, especially in the subject line.

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Challenge-Response: a Panacea or Abuse?

Challenge response systems have been around long enough now that pretty much everybody has an opinion on them. The end users who use challenge response systems seem to love them. But legitimate email senders often never respond to challenges, and so the end users are actually missing out on a lot of wanted email.

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EASY to Use Video Email Right from the Web!

Let me tell you about one of the coolest email platforms about which you’ve never heard. It’s called Eyejot. Eyejot is a video messaging platform, but with a couple of important twists. First of all, it’s video email. But it’s video email that requires nothing more than a webcam and a web browser. That’s it.

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Why ISPs Won’t Give You the Email Addresses of People Who Complain That Your Email is Spam

A common complaint that we hear, particularly from email senders who are signed up for feedback loops from ISPs, is “why won’t the ISPs let us know who is complaining and clicking “this is spam” on our email, so that we can unsubscribe them?” There are a couple of reasons for that.

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Why Spam Filters are Your Friends

Many email senders rage against the machine – the spam filtering machine, that is. And it’s easy to understand why: legitimate email getting caught and misidentified as spam – what we call “false positives” – is a big problem. But, consider this: what would the email world look like without spam filters?

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Getting Anne Delivered

Starting today, Getting Email Delivered will be on a limited schedule, as I embark on a three-week business trip early tomorrow morning. My trip will see me getting delivered to Sacramento, California; Seattle, Washington – where I will be running the Internet Success Maker Group’s fall workshop; and the San Franscisco – Palo Alto – San Jose area. If any of you are in Seattle or in the Bay area, and want to meet with me to talk about email deliverability (or hey, just to buy me a coffee!) drop me a note here!

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How Address Book Importing Can Destroy Your Credibility

We’ve talked in the past about why address book importing is just not ok. But in addition to the fact that it trains people to enter their passwords at third-party sites, and to the fact that when you send out all those invitations it makes you look like a spammer, there’s another big reason to not do address book importing.

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Sending Postal Mail to Tell People to Watch for Your Email

We got the following in the mail this week from United Airlines: “Watch your email during the week at August 11 to receive a valuable limited-time offer from United for international travel this fall.” Something has gone horribly wrong when in order for an email marketing campaign to be effective, you first have to send your customers something via the post office to alert them to watch their inbox.

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Spamza – Why Using Only Single Opt-In is Dangerous for YOU

You may or may not have heard the furor over Spamza – the website where anybody can enter any email address, and have that email address instantly signed up for hundreds of newsletter mailing lists. Of course, everybody is very upset because this site facilitates people getting spammed. BUT, there is also a very important lesson here for email marketers, newsletter publishers, and just about any other email sender who maintains a mailing list.

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Changes to Road Runner Feedback Loop Program Announced

We recently received notice of changes to the RoadRunner feedback loop program. These change will affect anyone who is currently receiving the Road Runner feedback loop, as well as anyone who applies for the Road Runner FBL program in the future.

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An Example of Pure Spam – TripIt.com

This came into my inbox today. This is an example of just about everything we tell you not to do here. And this is a company that is going to have serious deliverability problems.

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Hello, My name is FirstName – When Email Personalization Goes Wrong

Three things happened within the last 24 hours which lead me to feel that today we need to talk about email personalization.

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Why People Mistake Your Email for Spam

Here’s a very basic thing to remember: one of the main reasons that people (or ISPs) may mistake your email for spam is because, in fact, the content of your email makes it look like spam. Remember that old saw, that “content is king”? Well, content can also be the joker, where the joke is on you. Because if your content is garish or gaudy, then instead of getting the royal treatment, it will go straight to the junk folder.

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Regarding the ReturnPath Acquisition of Habeas

Many are asking me what do I think about – and indeed, how do I feel about – this morning’s announcement that ReturnPath is acquiring Habeas, the company which I helped to found. And, was I surprised?

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Why Different ISPs Have Different Standards for Your Email

One of the most frustrating things for commercial and volume email senders is that different ISPs have different standards for what they require in order to ensure that your email gets delivered. On top of that, many ISPs don’t seem to adhere to the agreed industry standards in terms of how their receiving mail servers interact with the sending mail servers – for example five different ISPs may use five different SMTP error codes when they bounce an email because the email address doesn’t exist, even though people believe there to be one generally accepted code for that situation (along the lines of “550 user unknown”).

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We’re All In This Together and We All Want the Same Thing

A couple of things happened today which reminded me that a) we’re all in this together, and b) not everybody realizes or feels that we’re all in this together. What I mean is that legitimate email senders and ISPs really want the same thing: they want to not send or deliver email to people who really don’t want it, and they want email that is wanted to be delivered to the people who do want it.

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“Tell a Friend” Schemes are Not a Friend to Your Email Deliverability

We see fewer and fewer sites with Tell-a-Friend (“TAF”) forms and links these days – and we see fewer Tell a Friend links in email, as well – and there’s a reason for it. Generally Tell-a-Friend links don’t really generate much quality traffic, while they can bring deliverability trouble. In fact, there are a couple of different ways that exhorting your readers to “tell a friend” can cause you problems. (Tell-a-friend refers to asking your readers to, well, “tell a friend” about your article, page, etc., and providing them with a mechanism to easily tell a friend.)

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What to Call Your Unsubscribe Link

Here’s a quandry. CAN-SPAM, best practices, and just being a good mailer all require that you have a working unsubscribe link. But, many spam filters – including some widely deployed spam filters, consider words like “click here to unsubscribe” or “click here to stop receiving these maillings” as an indicator that the email containing the phrase may be spam. So what’s an email sender to do?

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Why You Should Monitor Your Click-Through Rate

Yesterday we talked about why it’s important to monitor your open rate. Today we’re going to talk about something that is closely related to your open rate, and to monitoring your open rate. And that is monitoring your click-through rate.

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Why Open Rates are Important

Do you have any idea what your open rates are for your mailings? If your answer is “no”, well, you should, and I’m going to tell you why. If your answer is “what’s an open rate?”, then, well, you probably have bigger problems than just not knowing what an open rate is, let alone what yours are – for example, you could be having serious email deliverability problems, and have no idea.

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Why You Should Really Care About Backups

I’m sorry that we didn’t post a new article yesterday but, you see, my hard drive crashed. And so today I want to talk to you about the importance of regular backups, and to share with you my own backup set-up which, I’m happy to say, was very effective.

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All About Email Delivery Monitoring

Are you doing email delivery monitoring? I sure hope so, because inbox delivery monitoring is one of two critical ways to keep your finger on the pulse of your email campaigns (the other is tracking your open rates and click-through rates , which is another discussion for another day).

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Watch Your Text to Image Ratio

One of the things that spam filters look at is the text:image ratio of your email. Did you know that?

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Address Book Importing is Just Not OK

Address book importing. Odds are good that if you aren’t doing it, you are either thinking about doing it, or you know someone who is doing it or thinking about doing it. Because, you see, it’s all the rage. It’s also an awful practice.

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Why You Should Never Send Mass Mailings Through a Brand New IP Address

What do a spammer and two legitimate email marketers have in common? They all had their brand new IP addresses blocked as soon as they started using them. And you can too. Here’s how.

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The 7 Words You Can’t Say in Email

Most of us probably remember George Carlin’s (may he rest in peace) “7 Words You Can’t Say on TV”. What fewer of us realize is that there is a list of words that you can’t say in email – at least, not if you want your email to get into the inbox. And, actually, there are a whole lot more of them than seven.

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Do I Have to Put My Real Physical Address in My Emails to be CAN-SPAM Compliant? Can I Use a P.O. Box?

CAN-SPAM requires that you include your physical mailing address in each and every bulk mailing such as an email newsletter or other mail to a mailing list. For some reason this requirement confuses people – maybe because it’s so straight-forward, and people are used to complex, convoluted, and contradictory (the Three Cs of legislative drafting!) language when it comes to the law.

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Email Confirmation Messages are Not the Place for Advertising!

Confirmation messages are those messages that best-practices practicing email senders send to people who sign up for their mailing lists, to confirm that the person really wants to be on the mailing list – before they get added to the mailing list. The problem is, some email senders see confirmation messages as a place to slip in a little advertising. Don’t make this mistake!

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Why Setting and Meeting Subscriber Expectations is Critical to Email Deliverability

Here’s one of those things which can be subtle, and yet so critical. It can bite you in the back without your realizing it, and then six months later you wonder why you have gangrene in your knees – it’s that difficult, to connect the dots. Until someone tells you about it and then you have that forehead-slapping moment – of course!

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Sending Out a Campaign without Testing the Content First is a Big Mistake

You know, sometimes it’s the silliest, most boneheaded things which trip us up. This is true for your email too. See if you can spot the mistakes in this email (this is a genuine, unretouched email, other than our changing the name of the service to “Geegaw” in order to protect the hapless).

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Why All the Email Addresses You Send from Should Really Exist

Once upon a time somebody – somewhere – somehow decided that it would be good idea to send email to their mailing lists using an email address in their “From:” field that didn’t really exist. But sending email “from” an email address that doesn’t really exist is a spectacularly bad idea. In fact, it may even qualify as the Epic Fail of “from” email address ideas.

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ISPs Inserting Bounce Messages in Your Mail Logs and NOT Sending Them by Email

Most legitimate mail senders know to process bounce messages. This means that if they get what is called a “hard bounce” for an email address on their list (meaning that the bounce tells them that the email address simply doesn’t exist), they remove the email address from their list permanently. But more and more ISPs are inserting the bounce message right into your mail log, right at the time of the SMTP transaction, instead. If you don’t check your mail logs regularly, you’ll never see the bounce.

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Why You Shouldn’t Say that You Comply with CAN-SPAM

One of the (many) things that we explain to people in our Email Deliverability Handbook is that while you must comply with CAN-SPAM, you shouldn’t say that you comply with CAN-SPAM.

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Why You Should Process Unsubscribes Immediately Even Though CAN-SPAM Gives You 10 Days

Here’s something that often comes up in discussions with email senders. You really really need to remove the email addresses of people who want to opt-out – that is, to unsubscribe – from your mailings lists as soon as humanly possible. Even though CAN-SPAM gives you ten days to do it.

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How the Email Deliverability Accreditation and Reputation Industry is Eating Itself Alive

One of our mottos is “In all things, be honourable.” I demand it of our employees. We insist on it with our customers. I strive for it in my personal interactions. And I expect it of others in our industry. Unfortunately, and always to my surprise (as I am eternally pollyannic), my expectations for honourable behaviour among our colleagues and competitors are not always met.

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The Importance of Reverse DNS (rDNS) for Good Email Deliverability

Just mention the term ‘DNS’, and many email senders’ eyes glaze over; say “rDNS” and a look of panic may replace the glaze. Yet, not only are these not complicated concepts, but having rDNS set up is critical to having consistent, good email delivery. To test whether you have rDNS set up, you can use our handy test rDNS tool.

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Segregating Outbound Email Across Different IP Addresses Based on Opt-In Quality

Yesterday we talked about why you should give each of your customers their own IP address. But for various reasons, not everybody can do that – at least not right away – and so, as promised, today we are going to talk about segregating your outbound mail across different IP addresses based on opt-in quality.

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Why You Should Give Each of Your Customers Their Own IP Address

Over at our email accreditation service, SuretyMail, we strongly urge our senders who provision or otherwise host their customers’ outgoing email to give each customer their own outbound IP address.

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The Top 5 Mistakes Email Senders Make in Scheduling Their Mailings

In all of the focus that email marketers, newsletter publishers, and other volume email senders put on tweaking their content, format, and other aspects of their email to help maximize deliverability, they often overlook the scheduling of their mailings – by which I mean when they send their mailings, and how often they send them. Yet this can have a definite impact on your deliverability! Here then, are the top 5 mistakes that email senders make in scheduling their mailings.

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Why We Put Your Email Deliverability Above Our Own Visibility

We were recently interviewed for and featured in Email Marketing Reports. The interviewer, Mark Brownlow, asked a very interesting question – one with which we have struggled ourselves. The question was, essentially, “Why, when you offer so much of a better value than the other accreditation and reputation services out there, do you have such a low profile? Why don’t more people know about SuretyMail email accreditation?” It’s an excellent question – here’s the answer.

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How I Got Into Email Deliverability

I’m so excited to tell you that I am the featured luminary today over at Inspire Me Today! (Registration required, but it’s free!)

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AOL Feedback Loop Switching to ARF Format – Time to Learn ARF

AOL has announced today that their feedback loop will be switching over to the ARF format – only. This means that if you are an email sender of any volume, it’s time for you to start being able to deal with ARF format spam reports if you aren’t already.

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The Answer to “Where Can I Buy or Rent Opt-In Mailing Lists?”

We often get the question “where can we buy or rent legitimate opt-in mailing lists?” Well, the short answer is: you can’t. That is because, and this is very important, you can’t transfer permission.

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Repurposing Transactional Email Addresses to a Mailing List is Not Ok

It is never ok to repurpose someone’s email address – especially by putting it on a mailing list – without their express permission. Even if it were ok (which it isn’t), it will cause the recipient to mark your email as spam, and that in itself, when it happens enough, will cause your email to get blocked.

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Is Your Email Marketing ROI Suffering from Hidden Costs?

What if your email marketing doesn’t actually get to its destination? What if your little brand ambassador gets to the door of the inbox and…. access denied! All of that investment – the mail servers, the ESP, the time and money spent on the creative and content, the effort to strike just the right balance, and to represent your brand just so… all for naught, because the people to whom you are sending that email may never see it.

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