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Filtering adjustments at Hotmail

I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion on various fora recently about increased delivery issues at Hotmail. Some senders are seeing more deferrals, some senders are seeing more mail in the bulk folder. Some senders aren’t seeing any changes.
This leads me to believe that Hotmail made some adjustments to their filtering recently. Given some senders are unaffected, this appears to be a threshold change or a calculation change, tightening up their standards. The changes have been around for long enough now it does look like the filtering is working as intended and Hotmail is not going to roll these changes back.
So what can you do to fix delivery of mail that was good enough at Hotmail a few weeks ago and now isn’t?

  1. Look at your data hygiene. Do you have older addresses that haven’t responded in any way recently? Try removing that data from your mailings for a week or two and see if that improves your delivery.
  2. Check your content for URLs that might be advertised or spammed in mail from IPs other than your own. Use domains you have complete control over in all your mail, both for links and anywhere in the text.
  3. Contact recipients through a non email channel and ask them to add your address to their address book.
  4. Look at performance of your lists per acquisition channel, maybe one of your acquisition processes is giving you poor data. Removing these addresses may improve your overall reputation and get your mail into the inbox.

2 comments

  1. Huey says

    Check your content for URLs that might be advertised or spammed in mail from IPs other than your own. Use domains you have complete control over in all your mail, both for links and anywhere in the text.
    That kind of brings around an interesting question. Since lots of folks are now blocking mail with spammed URLs in it, and easily abuseable redirectors and URL-shorteners are now under increasing scrutiny, and I imagine most ESPs have little or no desire to manage client web content, is the solution for the ESPs to be running their own redirectors? And how do they cope with abuse of those? I mean, if your solution to http://www.some-spammed-URL-that's-getting-blocked is to wrap that in a link that says [a href=”http://our-ESP-redirector/hash/pointer/www.some-spammed-URL-that’s-getting-blocked”] “visit this URL!” [/a] then what does the ESP do when some jerkwad gets that email and finds out that HE can use http://our-ESP-redirector/hash/pointer/www.some-spammed-URL-that's-getting-blocked to point to that URL — getting it blocked as well?
    I was never very good at chess. I can see the move, the counter-move, and the counter-counter-move, but around four moves ahead, I start to wonder: what happens next?

  2. steve says

    In theory, huey, the only people who can use the ESP click tracking redirectors are customers of that ESP.
    Best practice would be for the ESP to check the target URL before adding it to the redirector, just the same as that’s best practice for any URL shortener (yes, I’m looking at you, bit.ly).

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