Rescuing reputation


One of the more challenging things I do is work with companies who have poor reputations that they’re trying to repair. These companies have been getting by with poor practices for a while, but finally the daily delivery falls below their pain threshold and they decide they need to fix things.
That’s when they call me in, usually asking me if I can go to the ISPs and tell the ISPs that they’re not spammers, they’re doing everything right and will the ISP please stop unfairly blocking them. Usually I will agree to talk to the ISPs, if fixing the underlying problems doesn’t improve their delivery on its own. But before we can talk to the ISPs, we have to try to fix things and at least have some visible changes in behavior to take to them. Once they have externally visible changes, then we can ask the ISPs for a little slack.
With these clients there isn’t just one thing they’ve done to create their bad reputation. Often nothing they’re doing is really evil, it’s just a combination of sorta-bad practices that makes their overall reputation really bad. The struggle is fixing the reputation requires more than one change and no single change is going to necessarily make an immediate improvement on their reputation.
This is a struggle for the customer, because they have to start thinking about email differently. Things have to be done differently from how they’ve always been done. This is a struggle for me because I can’t guarantee if they do this one thing that it will have improved delivery. I can’t guarantee that any one thing will fix their delivery, because ISPs measure and weight dozens of things as part of their delivery making decisions. But what I can guarantee is that if they make the small improvements I recommend then their overall reputation and delivery will improve.
What small improvement have you made today?

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  • After suggesting and fixing any underlying problems for a client, for how long do you wait before approaching the ISPs if there is no improvement in the deliverability?

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