Category Archives: Email Delivery Tracking

Email Delivery Tips for Marketing to AOL Users

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

aol logo

AOL Mail is a free web-based email service provided by AOL that launched in March 1993. It is also commonly referred to as AIM Mail (AOL Instant Messenger), which is 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.

 

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.

 

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 trash. You can read more about AOL’s Whitelist policies here.

 

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 correctly 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

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comcastComcast 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 Internet Service Provider 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.

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.

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-2:00pm EST).

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’.

Email Delivery Tips for Marketing to Yahoo Users

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yahooYahoo Mail is a web-based email service launched in 1997 by the parent company, Yahoo! This mail service is offered in four different plans – three for personal use (basic, plus and ad free) and the fourth one is specifically for business use. With over 281 million users (according to a 2011 survey), Yahoo! Mail is the world’s third largest email service provider.

In late 2016 Yahoo announced that there was a severe breach of more than 1 billion user accounts getting hacked in 2013.  This was followed by another 500 million user accounts getting hacked. This initiated more stringent policies with Yahoo proper, as well as Yahoo Mail service, which also tightened up its policies around spammers and senders of maligned emails.

Calculation of Reputation

As mentioned above, the hack scares have made Yahoo Mail a tough cookie for email marketers.  According to their website, Yahoo Mail may consider any or all of the following factors to calculate your reputation:

And as a rule, a reputable sending history doesn’t guarantee you a top spot in the inbox, as users can still vote or report you as spam.  You need to also focus on the content quality and relevance to generate meaningful engagement from the user and to ensure your emails stay out of the trash.

FeedBack Loop

With the help of FeedBack Loops (FBLs), email marketers are able to identify their campaigns that are receiving high numbers of complaints from Yahoo Mail users.  They offer a free Complaint Feedback Loop (CFL) program in which the senders will be forwarded complaints about their email campaigns sent to Yahoo Mail by users.  Before being able to avail this service, senders need to:

This link has all the information needed on the CFL program offered by Yahoo.

Whitelist

Contrary to other leading email service providers, Yahoo Mail does not have a whitelisting program.  They do, however, have a program in which email marketers can submit their IPs for review.  You will have to fill out and submit this application for new IPs.  Once review is complete, the Yahoo Mail team may decide on how to modify your reputation in their systems.

Postmaster Tool

With the Yahoo Mail Postmaster Tool you can analyze, as well as monitor, your email health and find the right routes for your messages to reach the right place.  You can learn more about the Yahoo Mail Postmaster tool here.

Yahoo Mail Delivery Tips

With the changes in how Yahoo Mail is keeping itself spam proof, you’ll want to try and adopt the following methods to ensure optimal delivery:

  • The “unsubscribe” button on the bottom of your emails needs to be as clear as possible.  If you do not take this seriously, the chances are the recipients will get frustrated and will end up marking you as spam.
  • Your email lists must be acquired using one of the opt-in methods.  You should always have explicit permission from users in order to avoid future spam markings.
  • Make it a habit to regularly check the sending IP against blacklists.  Failure to do this can be very damaging to your business’s reputation.  You might also want to check out our blog on Blacklists to discover more information on this topic.
  • Try and stay away from using shortened URLS.  It has a bad reputation in the market for being used by spammers. In fact, it helps to keep URLs as closely linked to the topic of the email as possible.

Email Delivery Tips for Marketing to Gmail Users

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

gmailIn a relatively short period of time, Gmail has become the email service provider of choice for over a billion users around the world. That’s pretty amazing considering that its a free, advertising-supported email service which launched just 13 years ago – making it the youngest rival to the likes of Hotmail, AOL and Yahoo.

The success of Gmail can be attributed to the fact that users of Android devices, Google Play Store, Google Chrome browser, Google Drive, Google+ and other services must have an account with them. Gmail is also accessible for users through the mobile apps for both Android and iOS, and is also configurable for syncing emails through POP and IMAP protocols.

 FeedBack Loop

FeedBack Loops (FBLs) can help large volume senders identify campaigns in their traffic that are receiving large complaints from Gmail users. With FBL, the email service providers can detect abuse of their services and take the necessary actions to counter that. You can find out more about Gmail’s Feedback loop here.

Whitelist

Email Whitelists are lists of IP addresses from which users are expecting to receive legitimate emails from. When an IP address is added to your whitelist, most of the emails sent from that IP will not be marked spam and will be delivered immediately. The Email Whitelist feature is available on G Suite. You can read more about it here.

Postmaster Tools

With Gmail’s Postmaster Tools you can analyze and monitor your email performance to help Gmail route your messages to the right place.  You can find out more about it here.

Gmail Delivery Tips

Here are 8 tips to help you stay in Gmail’s good books:

  • Make sure that your list contains users who have confirmed opt-in. This is very important as it provides explicit permission from the users to avoid any “mark spam” actions from them.
  • Have a clear and seamless “unsubscribe” process. It is important to add the users who unsubscribe to the “do not email” list.
  • Take care in promoting affiliate products. Gmail is not the friendliest place to do affiliate marketing, so you might want to pass on this.
  • Avoid using shortened links. Thanks to the spammers, URL shortening services like bit.ly have been used too much for all the wrong reasons that it is best to avoid them.
  • Check the sending IP against blacklists. This should be a continuous, ongoing process to ensure your IPs are healthy.
  • Pay special attention to engagement.  Gmail is particularly sensitive to whether your email list is interacting with your email sends.  If too many of your addresses do not engage, you are likely to end up in the Gmail bulk folder.  You can optimize your Gmail engagement by periodically segmenting your list into 2 groups: one that has opened your emails recently (within 30-90 days) and another group who has not.  Send to your engaged Gmail users as you normally do.  Send less frequently or with special messaging to your less engaged Gmail users to try to bring them back into your active list.  The overall effect is that your engagement percentage is higher and more of your mail is delivered to the inbox!

Improve Engagement

Despite all the safety measures and standard delivery tips to stay off black lists and out of spam folders, things are tightening up, thanks to the recent changes to email categorization by Gmail.  According to these changes, senders are scored according to the relationship that they have with the recipients.

An important element of this relationship is the actual content of your emails and the kind of engagement that you’re pulling out of it.  Google now measures the recipient engagement, meaning the level of interaction from the recipient your marketing emails are able to get.  This includes, but is not limited to: email opens, archives, skim reads, deleting without opening, link clicks and of course, reporting as spam.

More positive interactions from readers will likely get you a higher score, ensuring direct delivery of future emails in their inboxes. So how do you get these positive interactions? Here are 5 tips to get you started:

  1. Have attention grabbing subject lines that intrigue the readers to the point of clicking on them. This blog by Hubspot should help.
  2. Ask the recipient to mark your email address as ‘not spam’.
  3. Encourage the recipient to add you to their address book on Gmail.
  4. Tell users to make sure they click on ‘always display images from this address’ button when downloading the images.
  5. Make sure you either remove inactive users from your list or do effort to re-engage with them.

Email Delivery Tips for Marketing to Outlook Users

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

Outlook LogoOutlook is the oldest webmail service provider in the world. It originally started off as Hotmail back on July 4th, 1996, and has since evolved into a web-based suit of webmail, tasks, calendaring services and contacts from Microsoft.  Available in 106 languages and with over 400 million users, Outlook is a preferred email service provider for people from all around the world because of its easy integration with multiple apps and services offered by Microsoft.

The platform follows Microsoft’s Metro design-language and features unlimited storage, contacts management, integrated calendar, Ajax, as well as close integration with Office Online, Skype and OneDrive.  It’s one of the most popular of the free service emails available on the market today.

FeedBack Loop

With the help of FeedBack Loops (FBLs), volume senders can identify campaigns in their traffic that are receiving high numbers of complaint from Outlook users. The Outlook team can detect an abuse of their services with FBL, allowing them to immediately initiate any necessary actions needed. Click here for more information on Outlook’s Feedback Loop.  Scroll to the JMRP section (Junk Mail Reporting Program), and click the link to sign up and start receiving feedback within as little as 72 hours.

 Whitelist

Whitelists are lists of IP addresses that are expected to send your users legitimate mails. Adding an IP address to your whitelist will categorize the sender as “not spam” ensuring that most of their emails will show up directly in the user’s inbox and not the trash or spam folders. You can find out more about whitelists and blocking features for email recipients by Outlook here,  Outlook does not currently have a whitelist for senders.

Postmaster Tool

Outlook’s Postmaster Tool site gives senders information about getting your messages to the right place. The postmaster site is https://mail.live.com/mail/postmaster.aspx, which includes helpful troubleshooting tips at https://mail.live.com/mail/troubleshooting.aspx

SNDS

Microsoft provides sender reputation information with their SNDS program (Smart Network Data Service).  This applies only to IP addresses so in order to get the data you will need to be using a dedicated IP in order to take advantage of this.  The data provided will show reputation, sending volume, complaint rates, spam trap hits, and more.  This is a fantastic tool for any sender.  You can sign up for a free SNDS account at https://postmaster.live.com/snds/.

With Mail Monitor’s Performance and Enterprise plans you will also be able to track SNDS data each day to easily analyze.  Another advantage of tracking this data through Mail Monitor is that we will track your data over time so that you can easily track trends.  This is very helpful when troubleshooting delivery issues.

Outlook Delivery Tips

Here are 4 tips to help you stay clear for Outlook:

  • Always confirm that your email list was acquired using opt-in method. It is imperative to have explicit permissions from the users to avoid them marking you as spam.
  • Make sure your emails come with a clear “unsubscribe” section.  Hiding them or keeping it vague will not help you retain any readers – in fact, it will increase the chances of you being marked spam and even reported.
  • Shortened URLs are usually associated with spam by most of the leading webmail service providers, so avoid using them in your email.  Try and keep the URL description as relevant to the subject of your email as possible.
  • Continuously check the sending IP against blacklists.  This needs to be a regular exercise to maintain healthy IPs.