ISPs Crack Down Harder on Spam with Tighter Controls

email-marketing-arrowEmail marketing, a re-marketing tool, can be a very effective means to build loyalty and drive new business from existing clientele. Using it to generate new business from prospective customers who have no idea who you are, however, is a sketchy proposition. Purchased or rented lists typically do not provide as good a response or return. This is due to everyone’s extra sensitivity to spam and also to the differences in mindsets between the offline (print) world and online engagement. But it’s also due to the way email providers, and especially Internet Service Providers (ISPs), identify and filter emails that are marketing-oriented.

ISPs use one or more of several methods to identify unsolicited email but none of them are perfect. Unsolicited email still makes it through and requested marketing (e.g. email newsletters) sometimes get wrongly dumped into the junk folder. Even if you send mass email pieces through only trusted sources, it can be tough to ensure those messages make it to someone’s inbox. And it’s going to get tougher.

A new(er) method, called “Domain Reputation,” is being implemented by some of the major ISPs with more likely to follow. This method looks at the actual website name that the email came from to determine whether it should be spared from the spam folder. In the past this hasn’t been the case so it was easy for really malicious marketers to keep sending email from the same website by moving that website to different servers. Now your website domain, as displayed in your email marketing pieces, will be evaluated on its reputation for sending emails. If you’ve sent emails before that have gone into a user’s junk folder, that counts against you. If someone hits the “Mark as Spam” button on one of your emails, that counts against you. More specifically, it all gets totaled up and counted against your domain.

It can be tough keeping up with all of the new ways that email marketing is filtered. However, the fact is that double-opt-in emails, those delivered only to people who have requested it (and confirmed their request, hence the “double” part), are still safe and will be for the foreseeable future. In fact they’re not only safe, they are still an excellent way to keep yourself in front of customers and provide a valuable service (such as an email newsletter with really great advice). If you’re providing something that people have proven they want, you shouldn’t be too concerned about the rise in use of Domain Reputation filtering by ISPs and email providers.

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