How’s Your Reputation?

4 minute read

We should all be familiar with the idea that some of the emails we send don’t get delivered, and show as ‘bounces’. Traditionally this would happen because of a user or system error: an incorrectly typed address, or a server being too busy. Using only double opt-in email addresses should remove the possibility of incorrectly typed addresses being contacted. Using the system means that network or server problems will be handled by us, and we’ll redeliver mail just as soon as the destination server is ready for it again. We’ll also handle full inboxes, temporary DNS failures – everything we possibly can – without you having to worry about any of the technical stuff.

In recent times though a number of the major email providers have changed the way they react to not just bulk, but all incoming email. Users are becoming more and more frustrated with the volume of unwanted email they receive, so it’s only natural for email providers to tighten the net and become more aggressive with their spam traps. If you fall foul of this you’ll also see a bounce, and in order to keep on top of the game we need to spend a little time understanding how to avoid ending up in this position.

The change of concept here is that your emails may also bounce based on your reputation.

Larger email providers (and to be clear here we’re talking about the likes of Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL etc – the list is ever growing) monitor what you send and how their customers react to it. If too high a proportion of their users click the ‘spam’ button, your chances of getting your next email past that provider’s filters are much lower.

Why do users click the ‘spam’ button?

You should be concerned about every single spam complaint you get. shows this figure in the Track section, and it’s important to keep an eye on it. Remember, this is Permission Marketing – your recipients should be expecting, ideally waiting for your email – the last thing they should be doing is marking it as spam!

It does happen though, and it’s normally because the email isn’t quite what is expected. To avoid this you need only follow these simple rules:

  • Keep a consistent from address and subject style.
  • Don’t send too often; let your subscribers know before they sign up how often you’ll contact them, and stick to that.
  • Only contact them on the topics in which they’ve expressed an interest. Tempting as it is to tell all of your lists about a particularly stunning deal in one area of your business, if it’s not what someone signed up for, they might mark it as spam.
  • Never, ever, ever import a purchased list, no matter how much you are assured that it’s okay. It isn’t. Permission Marketing is all about the recipient’s relationship with you – contacting someone out of the blue is bound to cause problems.

Email providers are putting the recipient in control of their inbox, which is exactly as it should be. Do not think of this as an obstacle! The fewer undesired emails a person receives the clearer they hear your message – just keep your reputation up to scratch and your message will be received loud and clear.