5 Common Email Deliverability Myths

This is a guest post from Todd Coffey, Sr. Account Strategist at PulsePoint

As an email delivery professional, I often live and breathe reputation, authentication and certification. This makes it easy to take for granted that everyone in the email industry is familiar with what goes into deliverability and what it takes to make it to the inbox. That said, I would like to clear up a few of the common misconceptions I have come across regarding inbox deliverability.

Myth #1 – Having “free” in my email content or subject line will trigger a spam filter. These days, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) filter based on reputation, so content plays a much smaller role in that filtering decision. If you have a good reputation, it will usually override any content filter being used, and your mail will be delivered appropriately. However, that doesn’t mean that your content is never a factor in determining inbox delivery. If you’re sending out third-party content, the third party may have a bad reputation, which could impact the delivery of your message.

Myth #2 – My Email Service Provider (ESP)  can get me “whitelisted” with all the ISPs. Many people still have the impression that delivery professionals have a direct line to the ISP postmasters, or “bat-phone” if you will. Sadly, it has never really worked that way. Some ISPs do offer ways for senders to contact them regarding delivery challenges and, in some cases, “whitelist” a set of IP addresses. The best way to get preferential treatment when sending to an ISP is to maintain a stellar reputation by following their recommended mailing practices. In addition, the only true whitelist is when your subscriber adds you to their personal address book or safelist.

Myth #3 – Changing IP addresses (or moving to a new ESP) will fix my deliverability issues. Since the bulk of a sender’s reputation is tied to their IP addresses, changing to a new set of IPs can sometimes provide temporary relief to a blocking or filtering issue. However, because the root cause of the issue was not addressed, it’s only a matter of time before you experience the same challenges for the new IPs. In addition, with domain reputation becoming more of a factor with major ISPs, a bad reputation can sometimes follow you to new IPs.

Myth #4 – If my messages are CAN-SPAM compliant, they will be delivered to the inbox. Current email legislation only covers the bare minimum of what senders must do in order to send commercial email. Getting delivery to the inbox at all major ISPs requires building and maintaining a positive reputation by adhering to best practices and creating an enjoyable experience for your subscribers.

Myth #5 – Being on a blacklist will cause my messages to get blocked or sent to the spam folder. Even though the concept of being blacklisted sounds scary, the actual impact on your domain and/or IPs depends on the severity of the list. There are hundreds of blacklists out there, and many are so aggressive that they will list any IP address sending commercial email. As a result, most major and mid-tier ISPs ignore these blacklists due to the fact that these lists often block email that the end user wishes to receive. Keep in mind that there are certain major blacklists that should always be taken seriously, like Spamhaus. Any questions or concerns about the severity of an email blacklist should be directed to your  Deliverability Consultant.

While there may be more myths out there regarding email deliverability, these are just some of the common ones that sometimes come up when working with a new client. Avoid deliverability issues and maintain a great reputation with the ISPs by following recommended mailing practices. Much like real life, there are no shortcuts to repairing a bad reputation.

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