When the script doesn't work


DJ asks in the comments of Friday’s post:

As Seth said, great reminder. For those that have great processes/channels in place, I’ve found incredible success. However, sometimes I’ve found my answer on Twitter (i.e., @godaddyguy). Also, there have been times where I’ve gone through the script (i.e., shaw.ca) and have never heard back. What then?

This is the reason ISP relations folks get paid the big bucks, DJ! To sort these kinds of problems out.
Generally, if I’m having problems getting a response from an ISP, and a client is having problems delivering mail I sit down with the client to have a discussion about how important that domain is. We look at data including percentage of addresses on the list affected by the block and the monetary value of those addresses on the list. If the client decides that this is a block worth getting lifted then we try to determine the type of block. Content based blocks are different than URL based blocks are different than IP based blocks.
If we decide the block is probably content or URL based then we start making changes to the email to see if that resolves the issue. Most of these kinds of blocks are “bucket” blocks and tweaking things can often keep the bucket from overflowing. Senders have quite a bit of control over what is happening for this type of block, and usually can restart email delivery without contacting the ISPs just by changing how they send email.
If the block is IP based, that’s a little harder to resolve without ISP involvement, but if the block is IP based and the ISP does not respond to requests for help, then that itself is a very telling piece of data. It usually means that something the sender has done has convinced the ISP that the sender is a spammer. The ISP isn’t interested in resolving the issue. If the ISP is large, this can be a problem for the sender and may take enlisting the help of a 3rd party to act as an independent negotiation. If the ISP (or domain) is small, the sender may find it easier to write off those recipients and just ignore the block.
My client base is a mix of issues. Some of them get advice from me and blocks get resolved without having to contact the ISP at all. For those who have hard blocks and ISPs won’t talk to them, most of my time is spent collecting data from the ISPs and providing the client with a roadmap to externally visible changes. Once the changes are implemented, then I approach the ISP on their behalf. Usually, if there are real changes in sending, the ISPs are much more likely to listen, whether I’m using their scripts or using a backchannel.

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  • Laura –
    Thank you so much for detailing your process in this post. Wowser. So much great info here.
    I really really appreciate it.

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Best Practices & Deliverability
    Bronto Software, Inc
    djwaldow: twitter, AIM, MSN, Gtalk…

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