Monthly Archives: June 2017

You’ve Been Email Blacklisted….Now What?

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Tips and Resources | No Comments

Email BlacklistedIn some of our previous blogs, we’ve reviewed the reasons why you might have ended up in a blacklist.  The reasons may vary, but typically the service provider will inform you as to the specifics around why you might have been blacklisted.  So now that you’re email blacklisted, let’s discuss options for how to get yourself back in good standings, or whitelisted.  

The first step is to establish what type of blacklist you have landed on. You can discover this information by running a blacklist test on your domain name and/or IP address inside your MailMonitor account. This check will show you all places you are currently being blacklisted.

Once you have the list you will then need to begin the arduous task of going through each of the blacklist(s) and determining the requirements and procedures for removal. Some blacklist removals are as easy as simply filling out a removal form; however, for most, you will need to fix out the fundamental problems and wait it out.

Blacklist monitoring should be reviewed daily as it can occur at any time and interrupt your email campaign deliveries.  The MailMonitor Blacklist Monitoring product will send you notifications when your IPs or domains are listed.   This way you can get an immediate jump on resolution and delisting.

If you use an ESP (email service provider) to send your email and have a dedicated IP, you are solely blacklisted due to sending and/or list practices.  You may have acquired spam traps and are sending to them, or have other issues due to not using double opt-in practices when sending.  You’ll need to diagnose the issue, take actions to resolve the issue, AND reach out to the blacklist provider to request removal.  If you have an explanation and explain the steps taken to resolve the issue, you are likely to have much better luck with getting off the blacklist and keeping it that way.

If you use an ESP (email service provider) to send your email and use a shared IP pool, your ESP *should* be aware of an IP blacklisting before you are and work to resolve it.  Regardless, you should definitely monitor your domain to make sure it is not blacklisted through your MailMonitor account.

To diagnose the problem you may want to take out some time to go through our blogs on 6 Best Practices for Email List Acquisition and An Introductory Guide to Spam Traps.

Email Delivery Tips for Marketing to iCloud Users

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Marketing Email Deliverability | No Comments

Email DeliveryiCloud Mail is a dedicated email delivery, storage and send service available to users of Apple/Mac products.  Considered by many users as a way of “de-googling” themselves, iCloud allows you to send, receive and organize emails using the Mail app on iCloud.com, Mac systems or other Apple products using iOS,  like the iconic iPhone and iPod touch series.

An iCloud email addresses can end with @icloud.com, @mac.com or @me.com, depending on when a user started using iCloud.  iCloud allows users to have a singular platform from which they can send and receive all of their emails, manage files, photos, videos, and music, and create system back-ups.  Staying true to the typical foolproof security features offered by all Apple, the iCloud is one of the safest email service providers, making it difficult for not just the spammers, but also ethical email marketers to find a way inside the recipient’s inbox.

 

Email Delivery: FeedBack Loops

FeedBack Loops (FBLs) are great at helping email marketers identify underperforming campaigns based on a variety of factors such as the number of complaints received by users.  Unfortunately, unlike most in the industry, iCloud doesn’t offer FBL.  They encourage bulk email senders to make sure their subscriber lists are well-managed and used in ethical manners, ensuring that only engaged, opted-in subscribers are receiving the emails.  Apple recommends marketers follow the rules defined below:

  • Review email lists on a regular basis and suppresses any inactive or disengaged subscribers from the mailing list.
  • Remove any email addresses that bounce consistently.
  • Honor all user requests for unsubscribing as soon as possible.

 

Email Delivery: Whitelists

Unlike the other leading email service providers, iCloud does not offer Whitelist functionality to bulk senders. In fact, according to their official website, they track the sender’s reputation using various mechanisms, including IP and domain reputations, user feedback and content checks.  All filtering decisions are then made by their team based on the predefined list of characteristics.

 

Email Delivery: Postmaster Tools

The iCloud Mail Postmaster Information page is a great resource for email marketers and bulk senders searching for additional information on the tools and features available from iCloud, as well as tips and tricks to better manage and optimize email campaigns.  It touches on issues like email authentication, DMARC and delivery tips.

 

Best Practices for Bulk Email Senders

The iCloud Mail Team identified the following as their top best practices to keep in mind when sending emails to their customers:

  • Send only to recipients you have explicitly given you the permission to reach out to them.
  • Have clear and visible ‘unsubscribe’ button in your emails.
  • Make sure that your emails are compliant with RFC 5322.
  • Ensure that you publish reverse DNS with your domain to guide us in identifying your IP addresses.
  • Use consistent sending IP addresses but do segment marketing and transactional streams.
  • Make sure your subject lines, email content and email addresses reflect the business and its purpose.
  • Make use of the DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to authenticate your emails.
  • Track all temporary as well as permanent SMTP errors from the mail servers and take actions accordingly.
  • Never reactivate unsubscribed users.

Apple iCloud also recommends visiting the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) website and have a look at their best communication practices.

Email Delivery Tips for Marketing to AOL Users

By | Email Authentication, Email Delivery Tracking, Marketing Email Deliverability | No Comments

email delivery

AOL Mail is a free web-based email delivery service provided by AOL that launched in March 1993. It is also commonly referred to as AIM Mail (AOL Instant Messenger), which is a division of the Verizon Communications. It is available in 54 languages and continues to be one of the leading webmail service providers in the United States.

AOL has always been a tough cookie for email marketers. While AOL’s subscriber base is not as strong as it used to be, thanks to the more popular Gmail and Outlook options, it still comprises around 20 percent of the overall B2C email database. Having optimized messages according to AOL’s specifications can help improve delivery and performance.

 

Email Delivery: Feedback Loop

Feedback Loops (FBLs) can help bulk email senders identify which email campaigns are receiving more complaints. According to AOL’s official website, “Every email that is sent from one of your IPs to an AOL member that gets marked as Spam is considered a ‘complaint.’ We recommend both bulk mailers and ISPs monitor Feedback Loop Reports (FBLs), to help manage mailing lists as well as providing early warnings of network security issues.” You can learn more about AOL Mail’s Feedback Loop policy here.

 

Email Delivery: Whitelist

AOL Mail uses whitelists to identify and streamline emails sent from organizations and individuals who send high volume solicited emails.  IPs listed in the whitelist are usually safe from more of the AOL’s spam filters. If a user adds an IP address in the whitelist, the sender will be marked as “not spam” and their emails will not end up in the trash. You can read more about AOL’s Whitelist policies here.

 

Email Delivery: Postmaster Tool

AOL has one of the best Postmaster Tool platforms that we have seen. Here you can analyze and monitor the health of your email campaigns and all the guidance needed to help you route your messages to the right people and in the right folders. Click here to visit AOL’s Postmaster page now.  They also have an IP reputation test tool.  If you use a dedicated IP and are seeing some delivery issues, this tool is a must to check.  Click here to check your AOL IP reputation.

You can also use many of the delivery tools in the Mail Monitor platform to help manage your email lists, deliverability and spam rankings.

 

AOL Delivery Tips

Below are some additional tips to ensure you create and launch an optimized email campaign on AOL:

  • It is important to always have a clear and visible “unsubscribe” button in your emails.
  • Ensure that all email addresses acquired have been done using opt-in methods. Explicit permissions are necessary to avoid being flagged by recipients as spam.
  • Mail servers need to have a correct set-up Reverse DNS (RDNS) or their messages can risk being blocked.
  • Avoid having shortened URLs as they have a bad reputation in the market, thanks to all the spammers frequently using them. Make sure the URLs are relevant in description and content.
  • Have a regular health check for all sending IPs blacklists.
  • Get an AOL test account – this will cost you around $25 a month but will allow you to test messages before sending them out to your lists and also become familiar with the platform.

Email Delivery Tips for Marketing to Comcast Users

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Marketing Email Deliverability, Tips and Resources | No Comments

email deliveryComcast Corporation is a global telecommunications conglomerate headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It is the largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world and is the leading email delivery/ISPs in the United States.

Comcast has a separate company by the name of Xfinity that provides Comcast subscribers and users dedicated email service.  Backed by the leading internet service in the country, there is a substantial customer base of Comcast email services that are attracted by the singular account facility to manage all the different products.  Comcast also provides a certain level of exclusivity which appeals to their customers.

Recent Phishing Alerts

There have been some serious phishing scares for Comcast this year.  According to multiple sources, there have been reports of email notices mimicking Comcast Support.  These scams claim to be from Comcast and inform users that their accounts are temporarily suspended and will need to be “unlocked” as sensitive information was compromised.

Due to such Phishing scams, Comcast has initiated strict policies for email marketers and bulk mail senders. It is now essential to demonstrate good reputation with the following factors in place:

While users can still report you as spam, it’s a good idea to adhere to the above guidelines in order to make sure you stand a chance.

Email Delivery: FeedBack Loop

FeedBack Loops (FBLs) are great for email marketers in identifying which of their campaigns are getting complaints from users. Comcast has a dedicated FBL section which helps senders in getting any complaints around their email campaigns.  All FBLs come from the following IPs:

  • 66.45.29.177
  • 66.45.29.178
  • 66.45.29.179

Additionally, FBL messages are sent from the feedbackloop@comcastfbl.senderscore.net email address.

Email Delivery: Whitelist

Unlike the majority of leading email service providers, Comcast email does not have a whitelist program. However, they do encourage users to contact Comcast security to check if there is a blocking issue in place for a specific domain due to any prior spam reports. The Comcast Customer Security Assurance department can be reached at 1-888-565-4329 during normal business hours (6:00am-2:00 pm EST).

Email Delivery: Postmaster Tools

Comcast has a fantastic Postmaster Tool that can help you analyze and monitor the health of your email campaigns and figure out routes to help you reach the recipient’s inbox.  Click here to visit the Postmaster Tool page and find out more.

Comcast Delivery Tips

Additionally, below are some essential delivery tips to help you stay out of the spam folders and maximize good email delivery:

  • It is important to have a clear opt-in method in place.  Senders need to have explicit permission from the users they are targeting in order to avoid getting marked or reported as a ‘spammer’.
  • Email marketers should make it a habit to check the sending IPs against blacklists. Not taking this seriously can damage your business reputation.  Check out our blog on Blacklists for additional information on this subject.
  • Having a clear ‘unsubscribe’ button on the bottom of your emails is very important. If the recipients cannot see this button and want to unsubscribe, there is a high chance that they will simply mark you ‘spam’.